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Bangkok Post

Malaysian linked to Laos drug lord arrested

Suspect is also involved with suspect who has been on the run from Thai authorities for five years

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 February, 2017, 12:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 February, 2017, 12:38pm

Malaysian police have arrested a suspected major drug dealer allegedly linked to Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) says.

Kamarudin bin Awang, a Malaysian national, was arrested in Kelantan state, NSB chief Sommai Kongwisaisuk said, citing information he received from Malaysian authorities.

Malaysia has made no comment on the case since the arrest of Mr Xaysana last month.

An investigation led police to believe Mr Kamarudin is the son-in-law of Marining Jako, the leader of a drug network which receives drugs from the North and Northeast of Thailand, and has been monitored by Thai police for more than five years, he said.

More than 30 million baht in cash (US$856,898) was also found stashed in pipes at Mr Kamarudin’s residence, Pol Lt Gen Sommai said.

He said Kamarudin received drugs from the North before shifting them further to Malaysia through southern Thailand.

He was also involved in the drug trade with Usaman Salaemaeng, who is wanted by Thai authorities on drug charges in the warrant issued in 2012. Mr Usaman is still on the run.

The money from Mr Kamarudin’s drug trade was also believed to have partially sponsored the unrest in the insurgency-plagued South, he said.

Pol Lt Gen Sommai said Mr Kamarudin also has three homes in the far South.

Police are checking with their Malaysian counterparts to determine to what extent the suspect is linked with Mr Xaysana, who was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on January 19 as he arrived on a flight from Phuket.

Police are piecing together how a 20-million-baht (US$571,265) Lamborghini, suspected of being the property of Mr Xaysana’s drug network, fell into the hands of 30-year-old speed racer Akarakit Worarojchroendet, alias Benz Racing, who is also the husband of TV actress Napapa “Patt” Tantrakul.

Mr Akarakit told NSB officials last week that he borrowed 6 million baht (US$1.7 million) in cash from Natthaphol “Boy” Nakkham, one of the suspects linked to Mr Xaysana, as a down payment for the Lamborghini, according to officials.

A police investigation found the Lamborghini was bought from a used car garage, Buono Auto Clinic, on Rama III Road. The garage’s owner, Natthawat Huangmanee, alias Ek Buono, was summoned to give his statement to police Wednesday.

Mr Natthawat said he brought documents concerning the sale of the Lamborghini to the officials, insisting the car was purchased legally several months ago.

On Tuesday, celebrity Pai “Pai One Point” Lik, son of Ruangwit Lik who was a member of the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party, and his friend, aka Jeng One Point, were invited to give statements about the Lamborghini to NSB officials.

Pol Lt Gen Sommai said Mr Jeng, Mr Natthaphol and the garage’s owner were found to have known each other so they were invited to deliver statements.

The NSB chief said police have seized three other luxury cars, worth 20 million baht, believed to be linked with Mr Xaysana’s drug network. Police are also checking the Lamborghini’s “Ko Cho 51 Bangkok” licence plate, which was found to have been owned by a woman named Thanyarat Weeradecha, who owns a Volkswagen car.

Deputy NSB commander Chatri Phaisalsil said Ms Thanyarat and her husband had turned up to give their statements to police. Upon questioning, Pol Maj Gen Chatri said Ms Thanyarat’s husband, who is a car modification technician, handled the purchase of the Volkswagen from Mr Akarakit under the name of his wife. However Mr Akarakit asked to keep the licence plate so another plate needed to be used for the Volkswagen, he said.

Ms Thanyarat’s husband and Mr Natthaphol knew each other, Pol Maj Gen Chatri said. Ms Thanyarat’s husband was found to have fixed cars for Mr Natthaphol and earlier stayed in an apartment owned by Mr Natthaphol, he added. Pol Maj Gen Chatri said Mr Akarakit claimed he had earned money from the sales of several cars over the past year.

Malaysia link to 'Mr X' arrested