Connect with us


B30mn coke bust at Phuket Airport

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Six kilograms of cocaine were seized by officers in two separate airport arrests this week. The suspects, a Swiss man and a Thai woman, face a maximum penalty of death under Thai law for smuggling of Category 2 narcotics.

Swiss national Peter Balmer, 47, was arrested on Monday with possession and intent to smuggle 4 kg of cocaine at Phuket International Airport. To avoid detection, the contraband was in the form of black strips known as “black cocaine”, an intentionally adulterated form used to evade detection. It is then purified after it reaches its intended destination.

In the second bust, which occurred about 11pm Tuesday night, Sa Kaeo resident Pimpisa “Ja” Piangyotha, 39, was nabbed by officers with two kilos of pure cocaine in her luggage when she arrived for a Bangkok-bound flight.

Lt Col Prawit Engchuan of Phuket City Police said officers were tipped off by an unnamed informant that a large drug shipment from South America was expected to move through the airport.

Phuket City Police then coordinated with airport immigration, customs officers, and Thachatchai Police, all of whom were ordered on high alert, he said.

At this morning’s press conference at Phuket City Police Station, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pekad Tantipong said investigators believed both suspects were part of the same network.

Balmer and Pimpisa denied this, saying they had never met before.

Balmer also told the Phuket Gazette he didn’t know that the black material he was carrying was cocaine until the police told him.

About 4pm on Monday, Balmer arrived at Phuket Airport. After passing through immigration and collecting his luggage at a baggage carousel, he proceeded to Customs clearance, police said.

When Customs officers examined his luggage with a scanning device, they became suspicious. After a thorough inspection of the bag, officers discovered two black sheets, each weighing 2 kilograms, concealed inside the luggage lining. It was later determined to be “black cocaine”.

Miss Pimpisa also said she was unaware of the drugs found in her possession, claiming that a man in Brazil had placed the drugs into her luggage without her knowledge.

The unnamed man was a friend of a black foreign man in Bangkok named “Mike,” with whom she had been acquainted for about six months but had little contact with over that period.

Despite this, Mike had sponsored her with a two-week “holiday” to Brazil, covering all of her expenses and giving her US$2,000 in cash, she said.

On the day of her return, Mike’s Brazilian friend placed a bag into her luggage, saying it was to be delivered to Mike.

Officers said the drugs in the two busts have a combined wholesale value of 18 million baht in Thailand.

The street value could run as high as 30 million baht, they added.

During the ensuing investigation, Balmer told police he had been living in Thailand for 4 or 5 years.

He had been supporting a Thai wife in Nakhon Ratchasima on a government disability pension he received from a carpentry accident, he said.

When the Swiss government canceled his pension 3 months ago, he became desperate for funds to cover overhead costs of his wife’s restaurant there.

He admitted he was hired by a man of African decent in Bangkok who agreed to pay him 200,000 baht (US$6,000) to bring a piece of luggage to Thailand from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where he claims the deal took place.

Balmer told the Gazette that he was advised to fly from Santa Cruz to the Bolivian capital of La Paz, then to Phuket via Sao Paolo, Dubai and Kuala Lampur.

He had yet to be contacted by Swiss Embassy officials, he added.

He will be held at Thachatchai Police Station while the legal case against him is processed, police said.

— Atchaa Khamlo & Steven Layne


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | AoT warns about tourist exuberance, easing of restrictions | June 22

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

CCSA: Bars to stay closed for now, drunk customers risk the spread of Covid-19

Bangkok6 hours ago

Woman dies after jumping from Phra Khanong BTS station in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

263 covid cases linked to canned seafood factory in Songkhla

Drugs7 hours ago

Narcotics Control Board announce recent drug busts, heroin and cocaine sent by mail

Environment7 hours ago

3 Cambodian activists arrested for plotting against the government/insulting the king after documenting waste run-off

Chiang Mai7 hours ago

Chiang Mai eases restrictions, alcohol now allowed at restaurants

Thailand7 hours ago

Angry ex allegedly sets motorcycle on fire in school parking garage

Cambodia8 hours ago

6 arrested in Cambodia for allegedly trafficking people into Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 4,059 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand9 hours ago

Power outages coming to Kathu

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Samut Sakhon governor calls for more vaccine doses after order was cut

Thailand10 hours ago

Fruit buyer arrested for allegedly using counterfeit certificates to export durian

Tourism11 hours ago

Airports of Thailand president says tourism won’t pick back up until October

Thailand11 hours ago

Mobile sterilisation/vaccination truck helps Pattaya’s cats and dogs

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8