British eatery owner held on drugs count

British eatery owner held on drugs count

The British owner of a Thai restaurant in Bali has been nabbed in Bangkok on suspicion of being a drug courier after he was detained and found to have nearly 500 grammes of cocaine in his possession, police said Monday.

Pol Maj Gen Poonsub Prasertsak, attached to Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) said Matthew Kevin O'Neill, 40 was caught on Saturday night in the Sukhumvit area by narcotics suppression police.

Mr O'Neill is the proprietor of Thai Gardens restaurant in the Umalas area of Bali. He opened the "authentic" garden restaurant after living in Thailand for 10 years.

Mr O'Neill's restaurant is in the Umalas area of Bali, but may now be closed.

Mr O'Neill told police he flew from Bali where he closed his restaurant "for renovations" on May 30, and arrived in Thailand last Thursday - the day it was supposed to reopen.

Police believe the suspect is part of an illegal drug trafficking gang whose members swallow packages of drugs and smuggle them into the country to avoid detection.

They said they found the cocaine hidden in his bag. He was speaking Monday as he announced the arrest of the suspect.

Pol Maj Gen Poonsab said police stopped a public bus and found Mr O'Neill on the vehicle carrying a backpack. They found the drugs in his backpack and seized it as evidence, police said.

The drugs were packed in foam containers bundled with plastic wrap, according to police.

Pol Lt Col Jirakrit Jarunphat, deputy superintendent of Thong Lor police station said Mr O'Neill said he was paid around 60,000 baht by a black man identified only as Vincent to deliver drugs to another black man at the beginning of Sukhumvit Soi 31.

An investigator said the suspect told him he had met Mr Vincent at a restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 3.

Mr O'Neill, over a cold beer at his Bali restaurant. (Photo via Instagram)

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