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Immigration police have arrested three Nigerians after they were found to have hired Thai women to smuggle drugs into Japan.
The arrest of the three Nigerian nationals identified as Mr Declan Kaodichi Uzukwu, Mr Okwor Stephen Onyema, and Mr Justin Chiedozie Uzukwu came after Japanese police sought help from Thai police to track down a drug trafficking gang after they have arrested 7 Thai women for drug trafficking.
All the Thai women had in possession Ecstasy pills in SIM-card shape. They told the Japanese police that they were hired by the gang to smuggle drugs into Japan.
Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Srivara Ransibhramanakul told a press conference on Friday (Jan 26) that investigation by Thai immigration and narcotic suppression police found that a transnational drug network was behind the drug smuggling to Japan by the seven Thai women.
On Jan 23, authorities raided a rented house of the gang in Muang district of Nonthaburi province where they arrested the three Nigerians and seized 2,750 SIM card-shaped ecstasy pills, eight grammes of cocaine and eight grammes of marijuana.
The drugs were contained in a postal parcel sent in from Belgium.
Pol Gen Srivara said it was the first time that the SIM card-shaped ecstacy surfaced in Thailand.
During the past three weeks, more than a dozen Thai women have been charged in Japan with smuggling illicit drugs into the country.
Authorities believe the Nigerians recruited couriers, and then signed them up for budget group tours.
According to the Japanese police, the number and frequency of the arrests have risen to an alarming level. Those arrests are of all sexes and ages. Some are duped into smuggling drugs.
Japan has eased visa requirements for Thai nationals, leading to a rise in the number of tourists from Thailand. Investigators believe the smuggling ring took advantage of this 15-day visa exemption for short-stay tourists.
Since early 2014, a large number of Thai people have been caught smuggling drugs through various airports. Most of them are Thai women, aged 20-35, hired to be drug couriers by African nationals staying in Thailand.