Six Walking Street souvenir vendors were arrested for allegedly dealing drugs behind their racks of t-shirts and gewgaws.
Nearly 50 officers from the Department of Special Investigations, Region 2 and Pattaya police swept through the South Pattaya nightlife district April 25, using undercover agents to purchase marijuana and white powder marketed as cocaine.
An undercover raid on Walking Street proved that some of the street vendors were selling more than gewgaws, as a small cache of illicit drugs was found.
Arrested were toy vendor Aathorn Rattanasopha, 31, along with a 3,000 brick of marijuana; Kalhong Somrak, 26, along with a 3,000 baht stick of marijuana; Aswin Ruangdet, 29, with 4,000 baht in white powder; Aada Jitrom, 30, and Prasung Khanokhongsa, 25, with four packs of marijuana; and Yuparai Phrommok, 19, who was not caught with any drugs, but 3,000 baht in marked bills.
Authorities said investigators learned three months ago people were using souvenir sales as fronts for drug dealing on Walking Street. Upfront arrests hadn’t worked, as no evidence was found, so the decision was made to use undercover agents to make buys.
In all, 17 packs of marijuana, six packs of crystal methamphetamines, eight packs of cocaine and two caffeine pills were recovered. All the suspects were charged with possession of narcotics with intent to sell.