CityNews – Five suspects from the UK, China, the Philippines and Thailand, who were arrested in Thailand in September 2013, have now been extradited to New York to appear in court. They are facing accusations of conspiring to smuggle 100 kilograms of North Korean methamphetamine to the US.
The US and North Korea have long been known for their tumultuous relationship, with the US alleging that the North Korean government does more to aid the illegal drug trade than fight it. The five accused are believed to be part of a larger drug ring that distributes North Korean methamphetamine around Southeast Asia.
Even though none of the defendants are American, they will all face charges on US soil. Prosecutors also believe they are related to a group of ex-military men who were connected with international drug trafficking, and who plotted to assassinate a DEA agent and an informer in a sting operation.
The DEA has revealed that a batch of methamphetamine seized in Thailand and the Philippines last year had been traced back to the five suspects, and was discovered to be more than 99% pure. DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said, “This investigation continued to highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade.”
The suspects were apprehended when the two drug traffickers from the Philippines and China travelled to Thailand to meet with a buyer, who turned out to be an undercover DEA agent. They finalized a deal on tape to sell 100 kilos of North Korean meth, and were promptly arrested by Thai authorities, who are proud to say this was one of their biggest international drug busts to date.