An American and two other folks have been arrested by police right after a raid of a 20-acre cannabis plantation in Myanmar, according to a report in The New York Instances. The Myanmar Central Committee for Drug Abuse Handle announced on Wednesday that John Fredric Todoroki, 63, an American, and two citizens of Myanmar, U Shein Latt, 37, and Ma Shun Le Myat Noe, 23 had been detained in the township of Ngazun on Monday. All have been charged with offenses that could lead to the death penalty. Police are nevertheless browsing for a second American, Alexander Skemp Todoroki, 49. The connection involving the two Todorokis is not clear at this time.

The raid occurred right after images of the web site, which was referred to as an “industrial hemp plantation,” had been posted on social media by cannabis activist group the Mahar Legalization Movement Myanmar. The group praised the operation, saying it was the type of foreign investment in agriculture necessary by the Southeast Asian nation of extra than 53 million individuals. The post garnered thousands of views such as some by Myanmar law enforcement.

“We took action as quickly as we saw the post on Facebook,” stated police officer San Win in a telephone interview.

Defendants Face the Death Penalty

The Central Committee for Drug Abuse Handle announced that 350,000 cannabis plants, 600 pounds of cultivated marijuana, 840 pounds of seeds, and chemical substances had been confiscated in the raid of the plantation, recognized as the Mandalay Myotha Industrial Improvement. The 3 individuals arrested at the farm are facing charges such as the production or distribution of psychotropic substances for sale, an offense topic to a 15-year minimum sentence, lifetime imprisonment, or the death penalty, according to government sentencing recommendations.

The group has also been charged with the cultivation of narcotic or psychotropic substances, punishable with a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison, and drug trafficking, which carries a 10-year minimum prison term.

In August, the Mandalay regional government granted permission to III M Nutritional Medicine to develop medicinal hemp. An official with the Mandalay Myotha Industrial Improvement has stated that the 3 arrested individuals worked for the firm.

Aung Say Toe, the founder of the Mahar Legalization Movement Myanmar, stated that each marijuana and hemp are illegal in the nation but referred to as on the government to let study into the medicinal use of cannabis.

“They are not cultivating secretly,” he stated of the farm web site. “Everyone could see it, and that is why we could take images and video of the plantation.”