POLICE in Malaysia have arrested local man suspected of being a major drug dealer linked to alleged Laotian drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha.
The Bangkok Post quoted Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) chief Sommai Kongwisaisuk as saying that Kamarudin Awang was arrested in the Malaysian east-coast state of Kelantan, on Monday.
However, Malaysian police have yet to make any official announcement on the case following Xaysana’s arrest late last month.
Sommai said Kamaruddin is believed to be the son-in-law of Marining Jako, the leader of a drug network that sourced the contraband from the North and Northeast of Thailand, adding Thai police have been monitoring Kamaruddin for more than five years.
Malaysian police, he said, had also found THB30 million baht (US$856,898) stashed in pipes at Kamarudin’s residence.
Kamarudin, according to the official, obtained drugs from north Thailand to be smuggled into Malaysia via Southern Thailand.
Sommai said Thai police have contacted their Malaysian counterparts, requesting permission to interrogate Kamaruddin over his suspected links to Xaysana’s alleged drug network.
“We have already contacted Malaysian police,” Sommai said, as quoted by The Nation, adding that money from Kamarudin’s drug trade was also believed to have partially funded unrest in insurgency-plagued Southern Thailand.
Thai authorities also said Kamarudin owned three homes in Southern Thailand.
Thai media also reported that police were looking at how THB20 million (US$571,265) Lamborghini, which was said to have belonged to Xaysana’s network, fell into the possession of 30-year-old race car driver Akarakit Worarojchroendet, who is the husband of a popular Thai actress.
Following his arrest at the Suvarnabhumi Airport on Jan 19, Xaysana, or “Mr X” as he is more commonly known, has become the subject of wide media fascination across the region, with authorities now working round-the-clock to uncover the vast narcotics cross-border network that spans Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
With Xaysana’s arrest, Thai and Laotian police seized 74 items, including two residences, 14 land titles, 14 luxury cars, 11 motorbikes, two farm vehicles, 29 bank accounts, gold jewelry and cash in U.S. Dollars and Thai Baht equaling THB1.5 (US$42,000).
The total haul was valued at roughly THB100 million (US$2.8 million), according to local news reports.