Dutch B100m drug link busted

Authorities have seized assets worth more than 100 million baht from a Dutchman and his Thai wife who were arrested in Pattaya Wednesday.

The arrest came after a request from the Netherlands where the couple are wanted on drug trafficking charges.

Senior officials from the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), equipped with arrest and search warrants from the Criminal Court and the Pattaya Court, searched buildings and houses belonging to the couple at four locations in Bang Lamung and Sattahip districts of Chon Buri.

The Dutch government asked Thai authorities to arrest and extradite Johannes Petrus Maria van Vanarhoven and his wife Mingkwan Kaen-in for their involvement in the trafficking of marijuana through a drug network in the Netherlands.

The couple are wanted on two counts of transnational drug trafficking and money-laundering. They also face criminal charges in Thailand for operating a transnational criminal racket and will have to face punishment here before being extradited to the Netherlands.

Surasak Trirattrakul, director-general of the OAG’s Litigation Department, said the Netherlands has also pressed drug trafficking charges against the elder brother of the Dutch suspect but he had earlier been arrested in the Netherlands.

The suspect and his Thai wife have been accused of smuggling large quantities of marijuana into the Netherlands for sale. They had been involved in drug trafficking for several years and laundering money from the sale of drugs to buy properties and other assets in several countries, including Thailand, the chief prosecutor said.

Amlo secretary-general Seehanat Prayoonrat said his office initially seized 10 bank accounts connected to the couple and their two children totalling 20 million baht, about 100 million baht worth of buildings and condos in Samut Prakan and three of their cars worth about 30 million baht, gold ornaments, two Beretta pistols and 159 bullets.

The Amlo found the couple had used money acquired from the sale of narcotics to buy properties in Thailand, Pol Col Seehanat said.

Wanchai Rujanawong, chief of the OAG’s Foreign Affairs Department and spokesman of the OAG, said the Dutch government had supplied information to Thai authorities that the suspects had smuggled illicit drugs from countries in this region into the Netherlands.

The gang had operated a coffee shop as a front for its illicit drug trading. Drugs had been sold at the shop, bringing income of about 600-800 million baht annually to the shop, Mr Wanchai said.

The couple would face punishment in Thailand before being extradited to the Netherlands, Mr Wanchai said.

“The OAG will ask the Amlo to examine the couple’s assets at financial institutions and check where they have rented safes as authorities believe there are more items of their assets that are still being concealed,” the OAG spokesman said.

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