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Prosecutors to investigate 29 suspects for alleged involvement in Oh Jae-won’s drug case

Prosecutors to investigate 29 suspects for alleged involvement in Oh Jae-won’s drug case

Former Doosan Bears player Oh Jae-won attends an arrest warrant hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul on March 21. (NEWS1)

Police on Wednesday referred 29 suspects, including nine Doosan Bears players, to prosecutors on charges of helping former professional baseball player Oh Jae-won allegedly use drugs.

According to the Gangnam Police Station in Seoul, the suspects, who reportedly include 13 former and current professional baseball players and one Doosan Bears coach, are accused of violating the Narcotics Control Act by allegedly taking prescribed psychotropic drugs such as Stilnox and Xanax on behalf of Oh. The parent of a baseball academy student of Oh’s has also been referred to prosecutors for his alleged involvement in the prescription drug ring.

Two suspects who work at a hospital in the Seoul area were also sent to prosecutors on suspicion of illegally selling a large amount of etomidate to the former baseball player. Etomidate is a type of anesthetic, classified as an ethical drug, unlike propofol. Police charged the suspects with violating the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.

Oh was charged in April with suspicion of drug use and blackmailing and physically assaulting an acquaintance. He is suspected of using methamphetamine, commonly known in Korea as “philopon,” on 11 occasions from November 2022 to November last year, and storing 0.4 grams of methamphetamine near his acquaintance’s apartment in April last year.

He was also accused of receiving 2,242 Stilnox tablets between January last year and March this year from nine acquaintances and of buying 20 Stilnox tablets prescribed in those acquaintances’ names.

He admitted most of the charges at his first trial last month, including drug use. But he denied allegedly physically assaulting a friend who was also charged with alleged drug use.

Police began investigating Oh on suspicion of drug use on March 10 after receiving a tip from one of his female acquaintances. He was charged with allegedly violating the Narcotics Control Act and the Act on Enhanced Penalties for Certain Offences on April 17.

Oh, 39, played as an infielder for the Bears for 16 years, captaining the team to two KBO championship titles. He appeared in all seven Korean Series the Bears competed in from 2015 to 2021 and was part of the Korean teams that won gold medals in the 2014 Asian Games and the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier. Oh retired from professional baseball in 2022.

BY CHO JUNG-WOO ([email protected])