|American drug kingpin, Filipino and Brits among six captured over network involving Hong Kong
Police in Thailand arrested an American man and five other suspects including two Britons and a Filipino, wanted by the US for allegedly running an international drug trafficking network that spanned Hong Kong, other Southeast Asian countries and the United States, authorities said.
Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, (pictured) and his alleged accomplices were arrested Wednesday in Phuket as part of a sting by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, said Thai deputy police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang.
He called Hunter a "leading drug lord'' wanted for drug smuggling, trafficking and other international crimes, which he did not specify.
"This group was considered to be a big network that spanned many countries,'' including Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Philippines, Somyot said.
All six suspects _ including two Brits, a Slovak, a Filipino and a Taiwanese _ have been named on a US arrest warrant and were expected to be deported to New York, where the warrant was issued, Somyot said.
Hunter served in the US Navy, and his alleged accomplices were also believed to have had military training, police said.
"All these people were trained to kill,'' Somyot said in Bangkok.
He said the DEA contacted Thai authorities several months ago to say that Hunter was believed to be hiding in Phuket. Hunter regularly traveled around the region and last entered Thailand from Philippines on September 6, Somyot said.