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Italian man arrested for cocaine sales and illegal business on Samui Island

Picture courtesy of The Pattaya News

Police in Surat Thani arrested an Italian man allegedly involved in selling cocaine and operating a motorbike rental business illegally on Samui Island. The arrest, made on June 18, followed an investigation by Surat Thani Immigration based on tips from concerned locals.

Officers identified the suspect as 39 year old Mattio who was apprehended on Lamai Beach Road in the Maret sub-district. Reports indicated that Mattio was selling cocaine to tourists in bars and nightclubs around the island. Immigration officials set up a sting operation where they arranged to buy 25 grams of cocaine from him for 62,500 baht (US$ 1,700), agreeing on a meeting spot near Lamai Beach.

When Mattio realised his buyer was an undercover officer, he attempted to flee on a motorbike. However, other police and immigration officials blocked his escape and arrested him nearby. Police seized 31 grams of cocaine during the arrest.

Subsequent searches of Mattio’s motorbike rental shop in Maret sub-district led to the confiscation of 70 motorbikes and eight bank books containing over 8 million baht (US$ 218,000) from reportedly illegal transactions. Additionally, 1,095,000 baht (US$ 30,000) in cash was recovered from Mattio.

The rental business was legally registered under the name of a Thai woman identified as Wassana. However, investigations revealed that Mattio was the sole investor and recipient of the business’s income, using Wassana as a nominee to disguise his ownership. Nominees are often used by foreigners to circumvent Thai laws restricting foreign business ownership, where a Thai national appears as the legal owner on paper.

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Mattio was taken to Bophut Police Station to face charges of illegal possession of category 2 drugs with intent to sell and using Thai individuals to assist in running an illegal foreign business. Wassana was also taken into custody to face charges of supporting a foreigner in owning a business as a nominee, reported The Pattaya News.

Officials disclosed that Mattio had married a Thai woman and used proceeds from his cocaine sales to finance the motorbike rental business. The police emphasised that the crackdown targets illegal nominees, not legitimate business partnerships or marriages where foreigners legally own a percentage of a business in compliance with Thai law.

Crime NewsPattaya News

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