Ninja Drug Kingpin Sentenced to 15 Years

 Anthony Netzler

Anthony Netzler was a top martial artist and MMA fighter.

Anthony Netzler, a 53-year-old martial arts instructor, was sentenced on Monday to 15 years and seven months in prison by a New Zealand court for helping to mastermind the importation of what's been described as the second largest illegal shipment of methamphetamine in the country's history.

Netzler was arrested in 2019 for playing a major role in importing 500 kg of meth, with an estimated street value of $150 million, from Thailand. Netzler, who competed as a professional mixed martial arts fighter, is also a high-ranking instructor in the Bujinkan ninjutsu school and a senior student of Bujinkan founder and ninjutsu proponent Masaaki Hatsumi. He moved to Japan from New Zealand as a teenager in 1986 to begin studying ninjutsu, eventually appearing on Japanese TV shows and documentaries about the art. After training in submission grappling and competing at the 2000 ADCC World Championships, he went on to compile an 8-8 MMA record fighting for organizations like Pancrase and Shooto. On returning to New Zealand he worked for a time as a celebrity bodyguard.

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