US-Thai couple held for 1kg of meth in Pattaya
PATTAYA: An American man and his Thai wife were on Saturday arrested with close to 1 kilogramme of crystal methamphetamine, in a drug suppression operation carried out in Pattaya City, local police said.
Bart Allen Helmus, 39, and Sirinnapha Wisetrit, 30, were detained in a sting operation, in which they had delivered 10 grammes of the drug to undercover agents pretending to be drug buyers, police said.
The police found in a search conducted later at the couple's condo in the city another 978g of the same type of drugs packed into more than 800 plastic bags, police said.
A .22 pistol, about 200 bullets and 205,500 baht cash were also found and seized along with the drug haul, according to police.
The suspects were charged with possession of Type 1 drugs (crystal methamphetamine), with intent to distribute, and for owning and carrying weapons without permission, police said.
Mr Helmus reportedly claimed he had ordered the drugs and weapons from the dark web to his home in the United States, then had them shipped to Thailand.
A background check found he had left Thailand and re-entered nine times last year, police said.
Polcie are seeking cooperation with the US embassy and other agencies concerned to find out which drug trafficking gang Mr Helmus may have been involved with, and how the gang actually smuggled the illegal drugs into Thailand.
Prior to Saturday's crackdown, local police had learned that Mr Helmus and his wife had been dealing drugs in Pattaya for a long time, they said.