Big in Japan: $10,000 worth of marijuana gets misplaced by customs official at Tokyo-Narita airport

There are a million reasons to hate flying in the post 9-11 world. From rising fuel surcharges and increased airport delays to overzealous security agents and declining airline quality, spending some time at home isn’t such a bad idea these days. Of course, if you want to encourage consumers to help stimulate the flailing airline industry, why not reward them with copious amounts of sweet and heady ganja?

Are you ready for this one…

According to customs officials at Tokyo-Narita airport, the main international gateway serving Japan, an unwitting passenger arriving accidentally received 142g (approximately 5 ounces) of pure cannabis after a customs test went sour. Believe it or not, a Japanese customs officer hid the huge sack of weed in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to verify the quality of their airport security.

However, the drug-sniffing dogs were unable to find the hidden parcel, and the customs official (who may have been sampling a bit of the contraband) could not remember which bag he put it in! Like all drugs in Japan, marijuana is highly illegal, which means that a quantity of this size is estimated to have a street value of around $10,000 or 1,000,000 yen.

Anyone finding the package has been asked to contact customs officials immediately.

The man behind the botched operation is one Mr. Manpei Tanaka, who serves as the head of customs at Tokyo-Narita airport. In typical Japanese fashion, Mr. Tanaka was extremely humble about the entire affair: “This case was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologize.”

Of course, honorable words aren’t going to make the situation any easier on the absent minded customs official as it is illegal to conduct tests on a passenger’s bag.

According to Mr. Tanaka: “I knew that using passengers’ bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog’s ability. The dogs have always been able to find it before… I became overconfident that it would work.”

So far there have been no reports of anyone uncovering the missing weed stash, though customs officials are confident that it will be returned to the airport within the next twenty-four hours.

While a good number of people in North America tend to have a relaxed attitude towards smoking a bit of reefer from time to time, the Japanese are extremely averse to drugs of any kind. And, while the massive baggy of pot is extremely valuable, it is hard to buy and sell drugs in Tokyo without arousing suspicion.

So, I guess this brings up the simple question: if you were to discover some serious herb while unpacking your suitcase, what would you do with it? Feel free to chime in and share your thoughts with the rest of us!

(Special thanks to Julie Mac for sending this awesome bit of news my way!!)

** All images are courtesy of the WikiCommons Media Project. Also note that Gadling does not condone the smoking of marijuana unless it happens to be really kind bud. **