A Russian national currently seeking refugee status in South Korea has been arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis at his home, the Korea Coast Guard said Sunday.
The man in his 20s is accused of growing the plants at his home at a residential-commercial complex in Ulsan. He is also alleged to have smoked the home-grown marijuana multiple times.
The drug unit of the Coast Guard had received a tip-off that the suspect was involved in a drug crime, and had managed to catch him in the act on Nov. 27, after a five-month undercover investigation. A further investigation is being conducted to determine the source of the cannabis plants, possible accomplices, and a potential route of distribution.
The suspect entered South Korea through Donghae International Passenger Terminal in Donghae, Gangwon Province, from Vladivostok, Russia, and has applied for refugee status.
Officials have handed over the case to the prosecutors, charging the suspect with violation of South Korea's Narcotics Control Act. Growing cannabis can be punished by up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won ($38,000), the same as the punishment for smoking marijuana.