Photo/IllutrationBags of methamphetamines are shown at the Yokohama Customs Office in Yokohama’s Naka Ward, Kanagawa Prefecture. (Hirohisa Yamashita)

YOKOHAMA--A couple who traveled to Kenya with their 5-year-old child to make it appear like a family vacation were arrested over the largest-ever seizure of methamphetamines from flight passengers in Japan, police said.

Kanagawa prefectural police arrested Kazuki Sato, 43, and his wife, Natsumi, 34, who live in Zama in the prefecture, on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law and other laws.

Customs agents at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on April 5 found 30 kilograms of methamphetamines, with a street value of about 1.8 billion yen ($17 million), hidden in coffee bean bags in the couple’s two check-in bags, the Yokohama Customs Office said April 23.

The husband initially admitted to the allegations.

“(We) succeeded six times with the same amount and using the same method,” the customs officials quoted him as saying.

However, he has since remained silent. His wife has denied the allegations.

The couple and the boy arrived at the airport on the night of April 4, saying they had been on a family vacation.

Police, however, said they suspect the parents have been part of an organized smuggling ring. Their suspected role was to collect drugs at airports in Kenya and other places and deliver them to their associates in Japan.

They received between 4 million yen and 10 million yen each time, according to police.

The couple also has a 15-year-old son, who may have been used in previous smuggling incidents, police said.

The Yokohama Customs Office has sent the case to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office for indictment.