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American drug kingpin arrested in Phuket deported, faces trial in New York [VIDEO]

American drug kingpin arrested in Phuket deported, faces trial in New York [VIDEO]

PHUKET: American drug lord and alleged murderer Joseph Hunter, who was arrested in Phuket on Wednesday night along with five alleged accomplices, has been deported from Thailand and faces trial in New York.

Saturday 28 September 2013, 01:58PM

Hunter was deported yesterday. Photo: Bangkok Post/Narong Sangnak

Hunter was deported yesterday. Photo: Bangkok Post/Narong Sangnak

British media also reported that the two British men arrested at the same time, and accused of running one of the world’s biggest drug smuggling operations with Hunter, will also face trial in New York.

Thai authorities arrested Hunter at the Phuket Country Club and five others – two Britons, a Slovakian, a Filipino and a Taiwanese – in Patong on Wednesday, as requested by the United States.

ThaiRath newspaper reported that Hunter was accused of killing a judge in the Philippines, and is a former member of the US Special Forces.

The Narcotics Suppression Bureau said Hunter only used Thailand to plan his transnational drug trafficking and based his narcotic operations in the Philippines, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau said.

British tabloid newspaper The Mirror today reported that the two British men arrested had military expertise and were “trained to kill”.

“All these people were trained to kill,” said Thai deputy police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang in Bangkok, where the suspects were flown from Phuket.

A source close to the case was quoted by The Mirror as saying, “This is a major breakthrough in the war on drugs.

“The British men along with Hunter and the others had been suspected for a long time as being the kingpins of the Far East.

“We had been tracking them down for a long time. We will now get them in New York where they will face the law to its fullest degree.”


The Bangkok Post reported that yesterday morning, heavily armed Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commandos brought Hunter to Don Mueang airport, where he was taken aboard a charter flight back to the States for prosecution.

Pol Col Athip Thaennil, special operations chief of the CSD, led the motorcade to Don Mueang airport. He said Hunter looked solemn during the drive.

Thai police arrested Hunter as the US had revoked his passport, allowing them to deport him immediately.

Hunter had arrived in Phuket on September 6 and had stayed there since.

The US embassy was advised of his trip to Thailand and contacted Thai authorities. Hunter will now stand trial in the US on drug trafficking charges.

Pol Maj Gen Chaiya said Interpol would trace other members of Hunter’s alleged drug gang.

The five other suspects arrested in Phuket appeared in court yesterday.

Four eastern European suspects in the same gang departed Phuket last Monday and they were arrested in Kenya and Nigeria on the same day as Hunter was apprehended.

Police said the four are believed to be killers and bodyguards working for Hunter.

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