BANGKOK – The Royal Thai Police in Bangkok say they have drawn a connection between the Hell’s Angels gang member arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on Saturday and the murder of Australian Wayne Schneider found buried in Chon Buri province in 2015 at a news briefing on Tuesday.
Pol Lt Gen Weerapong Chuenpakdi, an acting special advisor, told a press conference that police suspect Luke Joshua Cook, 34, allegedly received US$10 million from Wayne Schneider, 37, in Pattaya in early 2015 to buy 500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, in international waters and store it in Thailand for later smuggling into Australia.
Cook then bought a sailing boat named Jomandy, which he allegedly used to pick up the drugs from Chinese drug runners in international waters off the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand in the early morning of June 22, 2015.
On his way back to the Ocean Marina in Sattahip district of Chon Buri province, his boat was spotted by a Thai Navy patrol boat. When the patrol boat’s searchlight lit up the sailing boat, a man was seen dropping bags of what were believed to be drugs into the sea, Pol Lt Gen Weerapong said.
Later that morning villagers at Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong found, four yellow animal feed sacks marked with red Chinese characters containing 50.45kg of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”.
According to Police after the drug smuggling operation failed Schneider demanded Cook return the US$10 million, Schneider was later murdered and his body was found buried in Sattahip district in November 2015.
Police searched many properties on Sunday connected to Mr Cook and his wife and seized and froze assets worth about 30 million baht – including three condominiums in Pattaya, luxury cars and motorcycles, guns, cash and yachts.
Pol Lt Gen Weerapong said both Schneider and Mr Cook were members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and were believed to be major drug dealers, part of a worldwide network.