PHUKET– Vietnamese Nguyen Van Thiet who claimed to be a monk was arrested in Thailand as he allegedly attempted to smuggle 2.3 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into that country on Wednesday, the Bangkok Post reported.
Van Thiet, 64, was caught with luggage in which the drug was wrapped in plastic bags and carbon paper and hidden, when he arrived at Phuket Airport in Phuket Province, located in the north of Thailand.
The total value of the drugs was estimated to be about eight million baht (US$244,000).
The man, who dressed as a monk, told local customs officers that he was travelling from China’s Shenzhen City to Thailand for a pilgrimage, according to the news report.
Before he boarded a China Southern Airlines flight, a Vietnamese woman asked him to deliver the luggage to another Vietnamese person in Phuket, he said.
An unidentified person would meet him at the airport and take him to the recipient, Thiet said.
Paisarn Chuanjit, deputy director-general of the Customs Department, was quoted as saying that the man did not have a monk identification card, and that he entered Thailand on a tourist visa.
Thiet was charged with “possessing a category one drug and carrying it through Thailand for sale without permission,” according to the newspaper.
In Thailand, the possession of category I drugs, namely heroin, amphetamines, and methamphetamine, carries the death penalty.