TOKYO: Thai police announced the arrest of an Iranian man who delivered a suitcase filled with stimulant drugs to a Japanese man, who was duped over the Internet into thinking he could travel for free if he wrote a travel blog.
The Iranian, identified as 43-year-old Mohamad Ali Ezazi, was arrested last immigration police acting on a tipoff from the Japanese Embassy.
Last Tuesday, the Japanese would-be tourist was said to have met up with a foreigner at Tokyo Station who handed him 400,000 yen ($3,540) for his airfare and other expenses.
He arrived in Thailand on Wednesday and was on Thursday handed $2,000 and a suitcase that he was instructed to transport to Frankfurt, Germany, after which he was expected to travel to Australia and then back to Thailand before returning home.
However, he became suspicious after opening the suitcase and finding four stiff shirts inside sealed plastic bags, prompting him to contact the Japanese Embassy the following day.
Inspection of the clothes showed that they had been soaked in crystal methamphetamine. More meth was recovered from the suitcase and from two condominiums in Bangkok.
The police suspect the Iranian and his accomplices may be associated with an international criminal organization that lures people into smuggling drugs unwittingly on false premises.
Authorities are investigating whether there are other Japanese who have been duped into becoming drug-couriers in this way.