US prosecutors have charged an alleged member of Japanese mafia with conspiring to traffic nuclear materials.

Takeshi Ebisawa, a senior figure in the Japanese organized crime syndicate Yakuza, is facing life imprisonment if convicted of selling uranium and plutonium believed to be transferred to Iran for nuclear bomb construction. Ebisawa and a Thai co-defendant were previously charged with weapons and drug offenses. Samples of nuclear materials were seized from Myanmar and confirmed to contain uranium and plutonium.

US prosecutors alleged that Japanese businessman allegedly sought to acquire military-grade weapons on behalf of a Myanmar rebel group. The weapons included missiles, rifles, and rockets. He allegedly contacted a DEA agent in February 2020 about selling nuclear materials, during offering to sell 50 tons for $6.85 million. He sent photographs of the material with a Geiger counter.

Mr. Ebisawa faces charges including conspiracy to commit international trafficking of nuclear materials, narcotics importation conspiracy to acquire, transfer and possess anti-aircraft and money laundering.

His co-conspirator in the case, 61-year-old Thai national Somphop Singhasiri, is facing drugs and weapons charges. The pair will be arraigned in a New York federal courtroom on Thursday.