Covid-19 wiped out Russian drug dealer’s business, so he sold fake coke, meth in Pattaya

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Maxim Kurbatov was taken into custody and charged with visa overstay and dealing drugs.
Maxim Kurbatov was taken into custody and charged with visa overstay and dealing drugs.

A Russian drug dealer whose business has been crushed by the Covid-19 outbreak was busted for selling fake cocaine and meth made with chalk and attention-deficit pills.




A bare-chested and sweating Maxim Kurbatov, 33, was taken into custody with two Russian women from his two-story rental house in Pattaya Lagoon Village on Soi Land Office March 13.

Inside, provincial narcotics police found unspecified marijuana cigarette butts and drug paraphernalia and, upstairs, plastic bags full of colorful powders and pills that might, or might not, have been drugs.

Police said Kurbatov confessed that he had been living in Pattaya and dealing drugs to other Russians and Eastern Europeans. In fact, Provincial Police Region 2 narcotics-suppression investigators had tried to snare the Russian in a sting operation, but he wouldn’t sell to the non-Russian undercover police informant.

So police simply staked out his place and when they deemed him “acting suspiciously” officers stopped and frisked him on the street, and found he had overstayed his visa, to they searched his house.

Police said Kurbatov confessed he had taken crystal methamphetamine two days earlier, but said neither of the women were involved in drugs.




While he had enough money for his own drugs, his dealing business has been crushed by the downturn in tourism from Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic. He didn’t have enough money to buy product, so he started making his own, police said.

He crushed up colored chalk, paracetamol tablets and prescription pills he bribed a Jomtien Beach pharmacist to sell him: methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, the attention-deficit disorder drug.

He mixed up the colored powder and made “ya ba” tablets out of them and sold white powder as “cocaine”. Those buying his chalk-headache-ADD mixtures at Pattaya discos would, at best, be really attentive at the club and, at worst, will feel sleepy or suffer a paracetamol allergy.

The methylphenidate is a controlled drug and the marijuana a Class 5 drug, so knockoffs or not, Kurbatov will be prosecuted for visa overstay and dealing drugs.