A Seoul court has found Jung Ilhoon, 26, a former member of K-pop boy band BTOB, guilty of habitual marijuana use and sentenced him to two years in prison and imposed a fine of 133 million (about $117,400).
On June 10, the Seoul Central District Court handed down the verdict against Ilhoon and seven other accomplices. After the hearing, Ilhoon was arrested in court.
Ilhoon was found guilty of violating South Korea’s Narcotics Control Act for marijuana use. He and seven others were charged with buying and smoking 826 grams of marijuana for two and a half years between July 5, 2016 and Jan. 9, 2019.
They spent 130 million won (about $116,420) for the illegal drugs, remitting the money 161 times to a drug dealer.
According to Korean media, the court pointed out that "the defendants used sophisticated criminal techniques such as communicating with each other on the dark web to make it difficult to detect crimes, and trading using bitcoin, a virtual currency, as payment."
The court added that Ilhoon and his accomplice, surnamed Park, “played a leading role and committed the most number of crimes.”
The seven accomplices were sentenced to one year and six months to two years in prison or one year in prison with three years of probation depending on the number of purchases and inhalation of marijuana.
During the trial last May 20, prosecutors asked the court to sentence Ilhoon to four years in prison and impose a fine of 133 million (about $117,400).
The judge asked Ilhoon if he admits all the charges of the prosecution, to which he replied, “Yes, I admit it.”
"I have to be an example but I am ashamed to stand here. I am sorry for disappointing many people who believed in me. Through this incident, I looked back on my life and realized how foolish I was. I'm sorry," Ilhoon told the court.
Ilhoon attended the first trial for the case last April 22. Back then, his lawyer said, "The defendant has acknowledged all the facts of the prosecution and is reflecting on his wrongdoing.”
"I am sincerely reflecting on it. I’m very sorry,” Ilhoon told the court.
Last December, Korean channel Channel A reported that Ilhoon was investigated by the police for marijuana use and the drug was detected in his hair.
It said that to avoid detection, Ilhoon used cryptocurrency to buy marijuana. He deposited cash in an account of an acquaintance who converted it to cryptocurrency to buy marijuana.
Ilhoon enlisted in the military on May 28 last year and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent the drug complaint of Ilhoon and his accomplices to the prosecution last July.
Ilhoon debuted in BTOB in 2012 and last Dec. 31, Ilhoon left BTOB because of the scandal.
“Jung Ilhoon is deeply reflecting on his actions of breaking the trust of many fans and causing them to feel disappointment. Respecting his personal opinion to no longer cause harm to the group, it was decided that Jung Ilhoon will withdraw from the group as of today,” said Cube Entertainment, SBS News reported.