Their suspicions were outlined at a news conference at police headquarters in Bangkok today (Dec 12).
It follows the apprehension of Luke Joshua Cook, 34, and his Thai wife Kanyarat Wechapitak, 40, at Suvarnabhumi airport on Saturday (Dec 9). They were arriving back from Australia.
Lt Gen Weerapong Chuenpakdi, an acting special advisor, said Cook was suspected of receiving US$10 million (B326mn) from the late Wayne Schneider, 37, in Pattaya in early 2015 to buy 500 kilograms of ya ice, in international waters and store it in Thailand for later smuggling into Australia.
Cook had bought a yacht named Jomandy, which he allegedly used to pick up the drugs in international waters off the Eastern Seaboard in the early morning of June 22, 2015.
On the way back to the Ocean Marina in Sattahip district of Chonburi, the yacht was spotted by a patrol boat. When the patrol boat’s searchlight lit up the yacht, a man was seen dropping bags of what were believed to be drugs into the sea, offshore from where Chonburi and Rayong province adjoin, Lt Gen Weerapong said.
“Later in the morning of June 22, 2015, villagers found four yellow animal feed sacks marked with red Chinese characters on Mae Ramphueng Beach of tambon Ban Phe in Muang district of Rayong,” Lt Gen Weerapong said.
“The sacks actually contained 50.45kg of ya ice. So, it is believed that the ya ice found on Mae Ramphueng Beach was smuggled by Cook and his associates.”
After the drug delivery failed Mr Schneider had demanded Cook return the money, according to police. Mr Schneider was murdered and his body was found buried in Sattahip district in November 2015.
Police sought warrants for the arrest of Cook and his wife from the Rayong Provincial Court last month.
Both Mr Schneider and Cook were members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, Lt Gen Weerapong said. Mr Schneider was outwardly a fitness club businessman who had recently arrived in Thailand then. Cook and his wife were in the business of importing, selling and renting yachts.
Police searched many properties on Sunday (Dec 10) connected with Cook and his wife and seized and froze assets worth about B30mn – including three condominiums in Pattaya, luxury cars and motorcycles, guns, cash and yachts.
Lt Gen Weerapong said the case also involved American Tyler Joseph Fulton Sheen Gerard, 23, and four other people arrested in 2015 for the abduction and murder of Mr Schneider.
They were believed to be major drug dealers, part of a worldwide network, he said.
Read original story here.