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5 charged in US bust over North Korean meth

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TOM HAYS | November 20, 2013 07:16 PM EST | AP

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NEW YORK (AP) — Five men are accused in New York City of conspiring to smuggle 100 kilograms of North Korean methamphetamine into the United States.

The men were arrested in Thailand in September. All pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges before a Manhattan judge on Wednesday.

Authorities say two of the defendants were members of a Hong Kong-based criminal organization that marketed meth produced in North Korea. Two others are British citizens accused of agreeing to store and transport the drugs.

Authorities say the suppliers bragged that they were the only ones who could get meth from North Korea after a government crackdown there on production. A sample of the meth that has been sent to the United States tested 98 percent pure.

The men are being held without bail until a scheduled Dec. 5 court date.