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The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Task force swoops on Australian drug suspect’s business

Task force swoops on Australian drug suspect’s business

PATTAYA: A joint task force raided a business owned by an Australian drug suspect and his wife in Pattaya early yesterday (Dec 18) and found it to be operating without permits, police said.

crimedrugspolicetransportmarine
By Bangkok Post

Monday 18 December 2017, 12:54PM


A task force mounts a raid on premises owned by an Australian drug suspect, Luke Joshua Cook. The venue in Pattaya houses a hotel, restaurant and bar. Photo: Treenai Chansrichon

A task force mounts a raid on premises owned by an Australian drug suspect, Luke Joshua Cook. The venue in Pattaya houses a hotel, restaurant and bar. Photo: Treenai Chansrichon

The task force, made up of anti-drug police, local police, and immigration police, turned up at a premises owned by Luke Joshua Cook, 34, and his Thai wife at 2am yesterday and found it to be operating illegally.

Cook and his wife, Kanyarat Wechapitak, 40, were arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on Dec 10 in connection with the discovery of crystal meth (ya ice) which was swept ashore in June 2015.

According to police, their business, which houses a hotel, restaurant and bar, was operating without proper licences and its foreign employees did not have work permits.

During the raid the officials found no drugs, just equipment for drug use, and one of the workers tested positive for drugs.

The manager, the employees without work permits and the one who tested positive for drug use were taken to Muang Pattaya Police Station for further questioning.

Two years ago, four sacks containing 50.45 kilograms of ya ice were found on Mae Ramphueng Beach of tambon Ban Phe in Muang district of Rayong. The investigation linked the drug to Cook and it was believed the bags were thrown into the sea from the couple’s yacht as they tried to smuggle the drugs into the country.

Laguna Golf Phuket

The probe also linked Cook to the late Wayne Schneider, 37, an Australian Hells Angels motorcycle gang member who was murdered. His body was found buried in Chonburi’s Sattahip district in November 2015.

Mr Schneider was suspected of selling Cook 500kg of ya ice in early 2015, with a plan to store it in Thailand then later smuggle it into Australia.

Meanwhile, the government has handed over B38 million to the Cambodian government as part of a joint cooperation to fight drugs.

The fund is earmarked for the construction of a drug rehabilitation and career training centre in Preah Sihanouk province.

Read original story here.

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