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Joseph Manuel Hunter Arrested: American Drug Lord Caught in Thailand

Image: Joseph Manuel Hunter Arrested: American Drug Lord Caught in Thailand

By Ken Mandel   |   Friday, 27 Sep 2013 06:16 PM

Joseph Manuel Hunter, an American believed to be a top drug lord in Southeast Asia with a network that spanned continents, has been arrested in Thailand and deported to the United States.

Hunter, 48, was given to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents at Bangkok's Don Meaung Airport, deputy national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang told The Associated Press.

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Hunter and five suspected accomplices were arrested Wednesday in the Thai resort city of Phuket, after a lengthy DEA investigation into the gang's alleged activities. A former seaman in the U.S. Navy, Hunter led a network of drug trafficking that had locations in Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, Thai police General Priewphan Damapong told the Daily Mail.

Hunter's passport and visa were revoked and he was sent to the U.S., Somyot said. The other five, who were also believed to have military training, are in Thai police custody awaiting extradition.

"All these people were trained to kill," Somyot told reporters.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration contacted Thai police several months ago when they believed Hunter was hiding in a house he rented in Phuket. They said he last entered Thailand from the Philippines on Sept. 6.

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