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Belgian drug gang caught in Thailand

19 October 2007

BANGKOK – Four members of Belgium’s “most wanted” drug- trafficking gang were arrested on Thailand’s resort island of Samui, said Thai police Thursday.

The four, two Belgian and two Dutch citizens, had fled Europe after the Belgian police broke up a trafficking ring last year responsible for bringing in from Latin America 125 kilogrammes of heroin, 200 kilogrammes of cocaine and 350 tonnes of marijuana, a Thai police spokesman said.

The street value of the seized drugs was 5 million baht (150,000 dollars), he added.

Belgian police officers helped identify the suspects after Thai narcotics agents moved swiftly to arrest the fugitives in an early- morning raid on the island of holiday bungalows and cocoanut trees.

The four were named as Ronald Koornwinder, 46, and Paulus Meyer, 44, both from the Netherlands, and Belgians Koen Van Staay, 30, and Kelly Cautereels, 25, the only woman in the group.

Two other members of the gang are still abroad.

“The Belgian authorities alerted us so we were able to seize the suspects before they got nervous and fled again. They will be extradited to Belgium as quickly as possible,” Lieutenant General Vuth Liptapallop said.

[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Belgian news