LIVE VIDEO: 9NEWS Evening Newscast    Watch
 

Mines student faces 10 years in Japanese jail for pot cookies

7:09 PM, Nov 16, 2011   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Japanese prosecutors appear to be using the country's very strict anti-drug laws to go after 25-year-old Tim Wilson. Wilson was attending Tohuku University in Sendai, Japan, as an exchange student when he was arrested back in August.

He's remained in custody ever since.

"They keep pushing the trial back," his father Jeff Wilson said on Wednesday. "Originally, they told us it would be no later than Oct. 24. Then they told us December, and then two weeks ago we found out it would be in January."

Tim Wilson's friend agreed to speak with 9NEWS on Wednesday if we agreed not to use his name. He said in May he mailed three peanut butter cookies and four "Cheeba Chews" to Tim Wilson inside a package containing other items such as books and CD's.

That package never made it to Wilson. In June, Japanese customs officials flagged the package and then started an investigation which eventually led to Wilson's arrest on Aug. 3.

Jeff Wilson has been told his son faces up to 10 years in prison.

"We really believed this would be cleared up in the first 10 to 20 days. We thought he'd be released," Jeff Wilson said.

Tim Wilson was registered as a medical marijuana patient with the State of Colorado when the marijuana edibles were sent, although federal and state laws prohibit the mailing of such items. He was given a medical marijuana card for pain in his back.

Jeff Wilson insists his son never requested the edibles and that the friend took it upon himself to send the package to Japan. The friend told 9NEWS the same thing.

Some of the confusion may be due to an email exchange between Tim Wilson and his friend in which Wilson wrote, "That would be a good idea," when asked about sending marijuana edibles to Japan.

Jeff Wilson believes his son was simply being sarcastic when he wrote that and that language issues between the two countries was at play at the time.

Tim Wilson was also volunteering with the country's ongoing earthquake relief efforts.

Tom McNamara is a Denver attorney with Davis, Graham and Stubbs and specializes in international law. He calls Japan's anti-drug laws "some of the most severe in the world."

"The amount [of marijuana] matters not," he said on Wednesday. "We could be talking about one gram or five kilos."

He says Japanese authorities have recently started to concentrate on cases involving drugs mailed into the country.

Jeff Wilson is now actively trying to bring more attention to his son's case.

"They've got the wrong guy," he insisted.

Tim Wilson has a 3.98 grade point average at Mines and his father showed 9NEWS a letter where faculty members were recommending he consider trying to become a Rhodes Scholar.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Most Watched Videos