German Drug Lord Suspects Charged, Extradition Expected

Police in Surat Thani and Phuket provinces apprehended two German men on Tuesday, suspected of being the leaders of a major drug gang operating across Europe.

Immigration police said on Wednesday that these men are expected to be extradited shortly back to Germany by Thai authorities.

Alek Kartun, 42, a dual nationality German-Russian, and Alexander Wolfien, 38, a German national, have been named as the suspects who have been charged.

The arrest of Mr Kartun took place at a luxury villa on the island of Koh Phangan in Surat Thani, while Mr Wolfien was held at Phuket’s Rawai beach as he went for a walk.

Police Maj. Gen. Phanthana Nutchanart revealed that the arrests had been made at the request of officials working for the German Embassy.

Thai authorities were informed that the gang had operated in a number of European countries and their network was linked to several fatalities.

German police had already captured approximately 20 members of the gang for their roles in the manufacturing and sale of drugs.

However, the two men arrested on Tuesday had fled to Thailand many years ago, without facing 16 outstanding charges in Germany.

National police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk was contacted by the embassy officials to ask that these men be located and returned to Germany to face trial.

Both men face the same charges: 14 in relation to narcotrafficking and two in relation to manufacturing for the same drug network.

The exact drugs that they are implicated of selling were not revealed, aside from them involving “chemical and herbal substances”.

Kartun was with a Russian companion when arrested on Tuesday: Victor Thubnikov, 42, who held and later charged with being in possession of marajuana.

The property that Wolfien was staying at was found to have had approximately THB 1 million in cash, Patek Philippe watches, and land ownership titles.

The land deeds in his possession were related to the Phuket and Koh Phangan parts of Thailand, and worth in excess of THB 10 million. An investigation is now underway to determine the source of their funds.

Once extradition proceedings are launched, the suspect may challenge it in court.

If however they are found to have stayed illegally in Thailand, they may be deported without extradition.