Secret Deal Between Thailand and Indonesia: Hunt for a Drug Lord

drug lord
Freddy Pratama - Chaowalit Thongduang

BANGKOK  — Indonesian police officers have already deported one of Thailand’s most wanted fugitives, and now Thailand has to hunt for the Indonesian drug lord and deport him as well.

Chaowalit Thongduang, also known as Pang Na-nhoad, was arrested on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali following months on the run in connection with several killings and drug trafficking charges in Thailand. He was deported and arrived in Thailand on June 4, 2024.

Khaosod Online reported on the background of the Thai government, with Pol. Col. Thawee Sodsong, Minister of Justice, and his delegation traveled to cooperate with Indonesian authorities to bring back Pang Na-nhoad to stand trial in Thailand. This was done as part of talks to exchange vital information on drug and cross-border fraud cases.

The information came from the Malaysian Drug Enforcement Unit, the Indonesian Narcotics Control Board and Thailand’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).


 Indonesian police officers escort Thai fugitive Chaowalit Thongduang in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian and Thai authorities said Monday, June 3, 2024,   (Kompas TV via AP)

According to the information, the Indonesian authorities had informed Thailand via Thawee Sodsong, Minister of Justice, and Pol. Lt. Gen. Phanurat Lakboon, Secretary General of ONCB, for help in locating Freddy Pratama, a major drug trafficker who has been issued a red notice by Interpol and is currently on the run.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Freddy for allegedly smuggling 10.2 tons of methamphetamine crystals and more than 11,000 ecstasy pills to Indonesia between 2020 and 2023. It is estimated that Freddy Pratama’s network smuggled 100-500 kilograms of drugs into Indonesia every month, often hidden in tea bags.

According to reports, the extradition of Paeng Nanhood from Indonesia to Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, was accompanied by six Indonesian police officers who traveled to Thailand to assist in locating the whereabouts of Freddy Pratama after learning that he was still hiding at the Thai-Myanmar border.

Freddy Pratama

In addition, Brigadier General Mukti Juharsa, head of the Drug Enforcement Department, confirmed via local media that the Thai authorities were ready to prosecute Freddy’s wife for money laundering.

In 2023, Indonesian authorities worked with Thai authorities to arrest Freddy and his network after discovering that he was hiding in Thailand and living with his Thai wife, known as “Casanova” On  September 12, 2023, Freddy’s drug network was arrested.

This operation was a joint effort of: 1. Indonesian National Police (INP), 2. Royal Thai Police (RTP), 3. Thai Immigration Bureau, 4. Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau, 5. Bangkok Interpol, 6. DEA (U.S.), 7. Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), and 8. Indonesian Customs.

Thailand arrested three members of Freddy’s network who had fled to Thailand, while Malaysian authorities arrested two suspects and Indonesian authorities arrested over 40 suspects. In addition, further investigations in Indonesia have been extended to over 800 suspects within this network.

During the joint operation, up to 20 tons of drugs were seized and assets worth over 700 million baht were confiscated.

According to Antara Indonesian news agency, the Indonesian police believe drug lord Fredy Pratama remains concealed in a forest location within Thailand.