BANGKOK – Police say a Frenchman Andre Cabau, 35, arrested earlier this month for a fake passport is, in fact, part of a notorious international drug-smuggling network.
Royal Thai police and the French police said Monday that Andre Cabau, 35, was formally arrested on charges of having entered Thailand with counterfeit travel documents bearing the name of “Andre Donatho”.
According to the Bangkok Post, French police attache Catherine Occhini described him as “a Big Fish”, she said he will be deported to continue serving a seven-year sentence in France on drug-trafficking charges.
Mr. Cabau, was arrested in 2005 and convicted in 2007 and sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released early on parole that required him to remain in France, Ms. Occhini said.
Police Maj Gen Apichart Suribunya reported he fled to Thailand, and entered most recently in 2013 on a fake passport.
He was living with a Thai wife and young child on the resort island of Koh Samui, he also had a luxury apartment in central Bangkok, where he was arrested Nov. 20.
French authorities had worked with Interpol to track him and then alerted Thai police, Ms Occhini said.
Special Branch and Phra Khanong police officers apprehended Cabau around 11pm Nov 21 in front of Lumpini Ville Building 1 on Soi Sukhumvit 77.
A criminal-record check showed that the man had been imprisoned for 10 years in France. At the time, police speculated he might have been involved in a bank robbery in Europe.
He was held while police checked his background with French officials.
“Their actions copied the famous movies Fast and Furious, where they used high-speed cars to transport the drugs,” said deputy national police chief Wut Liptapanlop said at Monday’s news conference.
To emphasize the parallel, police showed a video clip of an apparently unrelated high-speed car chase at the news conference where Cabau sat handcuffed and told media, “yes, I admit that I used high-speed cars”.
Ms Occhini said the network was highly organized and worked at night, using fleets of powerful cars to speed the contraband across Europe’s open borders. Often, a scouting car would do a fast test drive past a police customs control and then alert other drivers carrying drugs that the coast was clear, she said.
“This case is important to us,” Ms Occhini said. She declined to say whether Cabau was being investigated for trafficking in Thailand.