NEW YORK (AP) - The capture of five men in a Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation has given fresh insight into methamphetamine production in North Korea.
The men pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan to charges they conspired to smuggle 100 kilograms of North Korean meth into the United States. They had been arrested in September in Thailand.
U.S. authorities say one man was caught on tape bragging the ring had cornered the market on "the NK product."
Meth cooked in North Korea has been trafficked in the border regions of China. But authorities and experts say the New York case reflects its potential to reach a broader market.
Experts say meth has joined a list of illicit products that feed a shadow economy to support North Korea's ruling elite.