Connect with us

Crime

Court upholds Australian’s death sentence for methamphetamine smuggling

Jack Burton

Published

 on 

PHOTO: Luke Joshua Cook and his Thai wife Kanyarat Wediphitak at the time of their arrest - Police photo

On Wednesday the Region 2 Provincial Court of Appeals in Rayong province, near Pattaya, upheld the conviction and death sentence of Australian Luke Joshua Cook, his Thai wife Kanyarat Wediphitak and a Californian man, Tyler Gerard.

All three were arrested in December 2017 on multiple criminal charges, of which the formal accusation was “the failed importation of 500kg of methamphetamine by sea-going transport into the Thai Kingdom using the yacht “Jomandy”.

The yacht was acquired by Cook and Kanyarat from Malaysia using their unlicensed boat importation business “Global Marine Solution”, which according to police was specifically for unlawful operations funded by deceased senior Hells Angels member Wayne Rodney Schneider.

According to the Court during May and June 2015, Cook and Gerard took the Jomandy from a marina near Pattaya City to rendezvous with a Chinese vessel in international waters, where the drugs were loaded onto the yacht. En route back to the marina, navy vessels on routine patrol approached them and they dumped the cargo overboard. It eventually washed ashore where it was discovered by locals.

The plan was reportedly to store the narcotics temporarily in Thailand while a custom keel was built for the Jomandy where the drugs were to be concealed while yacht sailed to Australia.

In December 2015, Cook and Gerard were arrested and pleaded guilty to the abduction, death and burial of Schneider which dominated local Pattaya press at the time.

The video below shows a press conference held after the arrests;

A man named Antonio Bagnato was also arrested, but he denied the charges and was ultimately sentenced to three years for assault, after a successful appeal against the death sentence issued by a lower court.

 

Court upholds Australian's death sentence for methamphetamine smuggling | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Hells Angels gang member Wayne Schneider – news.com.au

The Court of Appeals handed down the decision on Wednesday based on evidence and witness testimonies such as that given by the man who purchased the Jomandy from Cook, for substantially less than what Cook paid – suspicious, since Cook was in the business of importing used boats into Thailand for a profit, not a loss. Additionally, Cook and the two accused denied any wrongdoing with no credible evidence to support their defense and claimed they had been framed by two of the prosecution witnesses, one of whom they claimed had rented the Jomandy from Cook and undertaken the failed meth importation.

This was deemed impossible by the court as witness was shown by foreign and Thai authorities to have been in another country when the crime was committed. Court officials said this confirmed that the accused knew of the crime and were attempting to frame someone else.

Bagnato, Cook and his wife are currently in a Thai prison awaiting a trial date for charges relating to illegal firearms, one military grade, discovered in police raids after Schneider’s body was discovered.

All three have denied the firearms charges, but investigators say Cook and his wife will likely be convicted as the firearms were found in his hotel room and a rental vehicle whose keys he possessed when arrested in December 2015.

Senior Thai officials gone on record calling Cook and his wife con artists and compulsive liars, citing the couple’s claim that they never had any dealings or contact with the Hells Angels. A Facebook conversation from Cook’s smartphone with his wife where they together reference Hells Angels members arrested by Pol Lt Gen Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn.

The cell phone video was provided to The Pattaya News from a source at the Region 2 Police.

SOURCE: This story is an exclusive of The Pattaya News

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)46 mins ago

Phuket Covid-19: 5 new deaths and 4 new Sandbox infections

Thailand2 hours ago

Saturday Covid-19 Afternoon Update: full provincial totals

Phuket4 hours ago

Phuket man finds 30 million baht surprise on beach: “whale poop”

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Malaysia5 hours ago

Transgender who fled to Thailand faces extradition to Malaysia

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Saturday Covid-19 Update: 11,975 infections, 127 deaths

Thailand23 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Nov 1 reopening proposed; arrest for “sexy” officer cosplay | September 24

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)24 hours ago

Covid-19 UPDATE: Provincial totals, vaccinations and more

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Contrary to Anutin, US says delivery of vaccines awaits Thailand

Thailand1 day ago

Sunsets, ‘Farangs’ and Boring Charisma | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 25

Thailand1 day ago

CCSA approves reopening delay, state of emergency extension

Thailand1 day ago

Video of feet on bread appears to be from India, not Thailand

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand Top Stories | Thailand’s security council approves Emergency Decree extension | Sep 24

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Phuket Covid-19: 3 new deaths, 322 released from medical care

Malaysia1 day ago

Malaysia considers further re-opening to domestic tourism

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand Re-opening, Costs and challenges | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 96

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending