By KITTIPONG MANEERIT,
India, Bhutan, and Nepal to be contacted over case of Bhutanese 'drug mule'
THAI police will soon contact the Indian, Bhutanese and Nepalese authorities to try to extradite five more suspects sought in relation to the death of Bhutanese ‘drug mule’ Ugyen Tshering, acting city police chief Pol Lt-General Sanit Mahataworn said yesterday.
The five suspects, wanted for being in possession of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” with the intention to sell, were believed to have headed to these three countries, he said.
His comment came after a court issued arrest warrants yesterday for four Bhutanese suspects – Pema Khandu, 51; Sonam Zam, 22; Dechen Dema, 31; and Kinzang, 34 – as well as Nepalese man Hari Bahadur Tamang, 37.
A police source said investigators were probing for more accomplices. An initial investigation found that there were people living inside and outside the country linked to the drug trafficking gang.
The number of suspects wanted for this case now stands at seven. On Friday, two arrest warrants were issued for Manoj Kumar Daga, from India, and Tandin Wangchuk, from Bhutan, for being involved in concealing the death of Tshering and smuggling narcotics into Thailand.
A video clip from a closed-circuit surveillance camera showed Daga and Wangchuk dump Tshering’s packed dead body into the canal on April 2 before leaving the scene in a cab to an unknown destination.
Tshering’s body was found in Klong Ong Ang in Bangkok on April 3, and forensic police later revealed he had ingested 58 balls of “ice”, and was likely killed after a large bag burst inside him.
Tshering was part of the eight-strong group – including an Indian, six Bhutanese and one Nepalese – who may have each swallowed 40-50 balls of “ice”, police said.
Meanwhile, Narcotics Suppre-ssion Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Rewat Klinkesorn yesterday said the transnational drug ring made up of Bhutanese, Indian and Nepalese members had smuggled “ice” from northern Thailand to store in Bangkok before moving it to a target country.
He said this was the first time officials had found Bhutanese involved in the “body-packer” method in which carriers swallow “ice” in condoms and risk the bags bursting and causing death, he said.
Usually, drug smuggling involves Africans luring Thai girlfriends to carry luggage that contains the drugs. He said his agency had captured more than 200 such cases until drug dealers shifted to smuggling packages via the post and the “body-packer” method.