PATTAYA – A joint task force raided a business owned by an Australian drug suspect, Luke Cook and his wife in Chon Buri’s Pattaya early yesterday and found it to be operating without proper permits.
The unit, made up of anti-drug police, local police, and immigration police, turned up at a premises owned by Luke Joshua Cook, 34, and his Thai wife Kanyarat Wechapitak at 2am and found it to be operating illegally.
Mr Cook and his wife, Kanyarat Wechapitak, 40, (above) were arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport in Dec 10 in connection with the discovery of crystal methamphetamine which was swept ashore in June 2015.
According to police, their business, which houses a hotel, a restaurant and a bar, was operating without proper licenses and its foreign employees did not have work permits.
During the raid the officials found no narcotics, just equipment for drug use, and one of the workers tested positive for narcotics.
The manager, the employees without work permits and the one who tested positive for drug use were taken to Muang Pattaya police station for further questioning.
Two years ago, four sacks containing 50.45kg of ya ice were found on Mae Ramphueng beach of tambon Ban Phe in Muang district of Rayong. The investigation linked the drug to Mr Cook and it was believed the bags were thrown into the sea from the couple’s yacht as they tried to smuggle the drugs into the country.
The probe also linked Mr Cook to the late Wayne Schneider, 37, an Australian Hells Angels motorcycle gang member who was murdered. His body was found buried in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district in November 2015.
Schneider was suspected of selling Mr Cook 500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in early 2015, with a plan to store it in Thailand then later smuggle it into Australia.
Meanwhile, the government has handed over 38 million baht to the Cambodian government as part of a joint cooperation to fight drugs.
The fund is earmarked for the construction of a drug rehabilitation and career training centre in Preah Sihanouk province.