System required buyers to use a code word when placing takeout orders, say investigators.

Stands selling takoyaki usually don’t offer a whole lot else. The spherical octopus dumplings require a special inverse dome-indented flat grill contraption to cook, and they’re usually eaten by stabbing them with a toothpick. Putting additional side items on the menu would require buying a bunch of other types of equipment and utensils, an investment most takoyaki merchants don’t think is worth it.

However, according to the Nagoya police, a certain takoyaki stand in the city did offer something other than octopus balls. It wasn’t listed on the menu, but if you knew how to ask for it, you could get your takoyaki with a side of cocaine. Investigators say that Masamichi Shimazu, the 29-year-old owner of a takoyaki stand in Nagoya’s Sakae neighborhood, had a system by which customers could purchase the drug by speaking a codeword when placing their takoyaki order.

The cocaine wasn’t mixed into the batter, but was placed in a Ziploc-style bag which was then slipped into the larger bag along with the takeout takoyaki, so the system apparently required that anyone who wanted cocaine also order food.

On February 15, Shimizu and his 31-year-old employee Takao Suzaki were found to be in possession of 0.7 grams of cocaine, which investigators believe they intended to sell, and the pair were arrested on suspicion of violating the Narcotics Control Law. Subsequent digging uncovered payments from the takoyaki stand to a management group in Mie Prefecture running unlicensed hostess bars, ostensibly funneling the drug profits to them. Four members of that group, likely to have yakuza ties, have now been arrested as well, bringing the total number of arrests up to six, coincidentally the same number of dumplings in a standard takoyaki order.

Source: Nagoya Broadcasting Network via Jin, Yahoo! Japan News/Chukyo TV News, TBS
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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