Aussie charged in Thai prison Net drug scam

June 24, 2002
US authorities have indicted an Australian inmate at Thailand’s Klong Prem prison, alleging that he used the Internet to manage a heroin shipping operation while incarcerated at the facility.Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has confirmed that the Australian Embassy in Bangkok is providing consular assistance to Australian Mitchell Ian Blake [also known as Martin Garnett], after US authorities charged him with conspiring to import heroin into the United States via the Net.DFAT officials said the indictment refers to activities allegedly undertaken by Blake and a Thai national while he was serving a 32-year sentence at Klong Prem for drug offences.

Following the allegations, it is understood that Thailand’s Department of Corrections has launched an investigation into the use of computers and mobile phones inside jail facilities.

It is suspected the prisoners alleged to have taken part in the trafficking operation accessed the Internet using a computer linked to the Internet via a mobile phone

DFAT has no information about the outcome of the Department of Corrections’ investigation. However, sources in Bangkok say that Thai authorities have already issued a ban on the use of mobile phones in Thai prisons and seized a computer at the Klong Prem facility.

Authorities are questioning how prisoners were able to access the computers. However, it appears that Australian consular representatives have fielded enquiries regarding whether the machines were donated to Klong Prem by Ian Blake.

According to local reports, Thai authorities will be asked to investigate allegations that Internet drug trafficking activities have been carried out in Thai prisons since 1999.

Source: ZDNet

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