By Nathan Schwartzman
US soldiers have been caught by police while selling the synthetic drug Spice.
The Yongsan Police Station in Seoul announced on the July 19 that it had arrested 29-year-old Mr. Kim and referred three American soldiers, including 23-year-old Mr. K, a private stationed at Camp Carroll, on charges of selling the synthetic drug Spice in the Itaewon area.
Pvt. K and the others allegedly gave 80 grams of Spice to Mr. Kim after smuggling it into hotel H in Itaewon at the end of March, and sold 490 grams of Spice, which they had purchased for 1.6 million won ($1,516), on four occasions for a total of 9.2 million won ($8,718).
Police are also expanding their investigation to include over 10 other US soldiers suspected of being involved in selling Spice. Police are investigating 24-year-old American tourist Mr. G, Iranian DJ Mr. H, 19-year-old Mr. M, who is the son of an American military employee, and Mr. Kang, a Korean, on charges of either selling or possessing Spice.
Spice is a hallucinogen with effects similar to marijuana, and has been selling very well in Korea the past three or four years because it relatively cheap.
A member of the police said that: “Spice is not illegal in the United States, but under the principle of territoriality American soldiers stationed overseas have to obey the local laws and US Forces Korea knows that Spice is illegal here.” The Korea Food and Drug Administration (식품의약품안전청) decided in July 2009 to classify Spice as an illegal drug and ban its sale.
US Forces Korea has announced that it is formulating police to deal with this incident, such as increasing patrols in the red-light areas of Itaewon.