PHUKET – Customs officers at Phuket International Airport arrested Romanian Pop Florin, 52, on Friday night after finding more than 3kg of cocaine in his baggage.
Acting on a tip-off from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Customs officers from Bangkok came to Phuket to assist in the arrest, Phuket Airport Customs Director Montira Cherchoo explained.
“Mr Florin departed Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 4 bound for Dubai. He left Dubai on December 6 and arrived at Phuket International Airport at 9:30pm on Friday night,” Ms Montri told the Phuket Gazette.
“When he arrived, we x-rayed his luggage and found 3.165 kilograms of cocaine in a black plastic bag. The cocaine was foil-wrapped, attached to spools of ribbon with black tape, then covered in ribbon,” she said.
Mr Florin confessed to being paid 3,000 euros – more than 120,000 baht – to smuggle the cocaine into Thailand, Ms Montira said.
“He was escorted to Bangkok where he will face charges of possession and trafficking of a Category 2 narcotic with intent to sell,” she added.
Meanwhile, Three men suspected of robbing a Patong ATM last Tuesday were apprehended in Bangkok yesterday and returned to Phuket last night.
Phuket Police and fellow officers from the central Bangkok district of Phayathai worked together to arrest the men, who are accused of using a blowtorch to steal almost 300,000 baht from a Thanachart ATM.
Mexican Yesid Alexander Ledesma Gutierrez, 50, and Columbians Luis Fernando Guarin Suta, 44, and Carlos Arturo Amariles Marin, 57, were taken into custody in a rented room in Ratchathewi District in Bangkok at about 12:30pm.
Phuket Police had tracked the men by investigating stores in Phuket that sold the equipment, namely a gas canister and gloves, that had been abandoned at the crime scene (story here).
Viewing CCTV images at the Thai Watsadu store in Thalang, officers found what they were looking for – images of two foreign men making purchases, as well as images of the car they were driving, a Red Suzuki Swift. They obtained arrest warrants for the unnamed men and notified all police divisions in Phuket to help in the search.
“They left Phuket and drove to Ao Nang in Krabi not more than three hours after they robbed the ATM,” said Phuket Provincial Police Commander Ong-art Phiwruangnont.
“On Saturday, we were informed that they were in Bangkok. At that point, we asked the Phayathai Police to help a Patong Police team arrest them,” Maj Gen Ong-art said.
The men were apprehended shortly after midday and returned to Phuket, where they arrived at about 10pm last night.
Police declined to reveal how the suspects were located in Bangkok.
“That is confidential police information,” said Phuket Provincial Deputy Commander Arun Kaewwatee. “If we reveal that, other criminals may learn how to avoid police detection.”
News Source Phuket Gazette