Foreigners arrested for drug dealing in Phuket
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Foreigners arrested for drug dealing in Phuket

An Immigration Bureau flow chart illustrates the drug busts.
An Immigration Bureau flow chart illustrates the drug busts.

One Russian and three Nigerian men have been arrested for allegedly selling the illicit drugs cocaine, ecstasy and crystal meth in Phuket.

Pol Maj Gen Phanthana Nutchanart, deputy chief of the Immigration Bureau, released details to reporters on Wednesday.

He alleged three of the suspects colluded in distributing cocaine to customers last weekend.

The 38-year-old Russian man, identified only as Denis, and two Nigerians - Ogadinma, 41, and Harison, 40 - were detained and taken to Karon police station in Phuket for legal processing.

Another Nigerian, identified as Solomon, 53, was arrested separately for allegedly distributing crystal meth, ecstasy pills and cocaine as possession of ketamine. He was taken to Chalong police station where he is facing a formal investigation.

The investigation was prompted by information from immigration police in Phuket in April suggesting that Mr Denis was illegaly operating car rental and cryptocurrency exchange businesses. Police posed as customers and learned that he also sold cocaine for 4,000 baht per gramme to customers.

He was later caught in a sting operation at a petrol station in tambon Wichit. Police seized 0.99 grammes of cocaine from him.

Mr Denis allegedly said he bought the cocaine from Mr Harison and Mr Ogadinma for 3,000 baht a gramme. The police investigation was expanded, leading to the arrest of the duo near a hotel parking lot in tambon Karon.

Police discovered 1.4 grammes of cocaine under the driver's seat of their car.

 Mr Harison and Mr Ogadinma allegedly procured the drugs at a bungalow in tambon Chalong where Mr Solomon, allegedly a major drug dealer, was based.

Mr Denis led police to the bungalow, where a search uncovered 855 ecstasy pills, 470 small sachets of cocaine, 127.8 grammes of crystal meth and two bank passbooks.

Police also said that drug-related assets confiscated from foreign criminals in Phuket this year included cars and about 900,000 baht in cash.

- Robbery -  

Pol Maj Gen Phanthana also said Phuket immigration police had worked with Chalong police to arrest a male suspect, identified only as Oleksandr, 25, who holds dual Swedish and Russian nationality, for alleged robbery.

A Russian woman, Diera, 23, filed a complaint with police that she had been deceived via a Telegram app into taking 25,000 baht in cash to a villa in tambon Chalong, where she was to exchange it for cryptocurrency 

When Ms Diera turned up at the villa, Mr Oleksandr allegedly put a plastic bag over her head, tied her up and forced her to transfer 104,546 baht to his Russian accomplice. She was released after the extorted money was received by the accomplice, she said.

Another suspect connected to the gang has reportedly fled the country, Pol Maj Gen Phanthana said.

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