Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
5


Zed: Edwards. Let's put it on.
 
Edwards: Put what on?

 
Zed: The last suit you'll ever wear. 


Would you have these guys at your Christmas Party?  Well if one of them is handling the crystal meth from North Korea I guess some might. The man on the left is Scott Stammers, former manager of the Bangkok based ASA Group, recently arrested in DEA sting in Bangkok. Arrested with him was the Sergeant-At-Arms of the Bangkok, Thailand chapter of the 'Outlaws' motorcycle gang with which I am all too familiar.

Wagstaff
The ASA Group specialises in aviation and VIP services, transporting I guess rich people around the world and making sure they are cared for. It is of course unfortunate they have been linked with people accused of transporting goods of another kind.

Scott Stammers is also featured in an issue of  ‘Charter Broker’ for ‘professionals in charter flight procurement’. It shows him (back to camera) extolling the virtues of Singapore as rapidly developing aviation hub. (If you read the text the article is dated to about 2011-12 - So the February 15 dateline is confusing and may have been photo-shopped in as this was sent to me - so ignore it).

Nevertheless the Sergeant-At-Arms of the Outlaws, Alex Chekov - he has many other names listed below, was also known to the ASA Group, who has also featured on their website.

Simon Wagstaff ASA's chief however states that Stammers was 'terminated' by him from ASA three years ago and although he knew Alex he insists that '“Alex” was never connected to us in any way, other than I knew him as a friend of Stammers'.

ASA have been cleaning up their website.





This is not disputed - although Alex's photograph has also appeared on the ASA website.

Scott was one of two Brits arrested in a DEA sting in Bangkok last November.  Scott was a General Manager of the Bangkok based  ASA Group .  The company specialises in security and aviation. The other Briton was a man called Philip Shackels  – the DEA Department of Justice report  on arrests made last year must be alarming for those who can remember. But of course in the U.S. these people are innocent until convicted. Here's a reminder of what the DEA said



DEA News: 5 Extradited, Charged with North Korean Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

NOV 20 (WASHINGTON) - DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced the arrests of five defendants – Scott Stammers and Philip Shackels, citizens of the United Kingdom; Ye Tiong Tan Lim, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China; Kelly Allan Reyes Peralta, a citizen of the Philippines; and Alexander Lnu, a/k/a “Alexander Checov,” a/k/a “Alexander Semencov,” a resident of Thailand (“Alexander”). Stammers, Shackels, Lim, Reyes Peralta, and Alexander are each charged with conspiring to import 100 kilograms of North Korean produced methamphetamine into the United States.

Scott Stammers in red - Shackles seated - yellow. Alexander Lnu far left seated

Each of the defendants was arrested in Thailand in September. The five defendants were extradited from Thailand, arrived in the Southern District of New York yesterday evening, and are expected to be presented in U.S. Magistrate Court later today.

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said: “Like many international criminal networks, these drug traffickers have no respect for borders, and no regard for either the rule of law or who they harm as a result of their criminal endeavors. 


This investigation continued to highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade. I wish to thank the Thai Government for their outstanding efforts and partnership in completely dismantling this sophisticated and dangerous international criminal enterprise.”


Handy to have airside clearance though - Stammers airside

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Methamphetamine is a dangerous, potentially deadly drug, whatever its origin. If it ends up in our neighborhoods, the threat it poses to public health is grave whether it is produced in New York, elsewhere in the U.S., or in North Korea. This investigation shows our determination to close a potential floodgate of supply.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment against Stammers, Shackels, Lim, Reyes Peralta, and Alexander:


In 2012, Lim and Reyes Peralta – members of a Hong Kong-based criminal organization – sold over 30 kilograms of methamphetamine that had been produced in North Korea. Stammers and Shackels were responsible for storing the methamphetamine after it had been sold by Lim and Reyes Peralta. This North Korean methamphetamine was later seized by law enforcement agents in Thailand and in the Philippines. The North Korean methamphetamine tested at more than 99% pure.

In 2013, Lim and Reyes Peralta again agreed to provide North Korean methamphetamine, this time agreeing to supply 100 kilograms of the methamphetamine to confidential sources working at the direction of the DEA (the “CSes”) for importation to the United States. As Lim explained, his criminal organization is the only one currently able to obtain methamphetamine from North Korea: 


“Because before, there were eight [other organizations]. But now only us, we have the NK product. . . . It’s only us who can get from NK.”
Lim further explained that, because of recent international tensions, the North Korean government had destroyed some methamphetamine labs, leaving behind only the labs of Lim’s organization:


“And all the, the NK government already burned all the labs. Only our labs are not closed. . . . To show Americans that they [the North Korean government] are not selling it any more, they burned it. Then they transfer to another base.” 

LIM explained that his organization had stockpiled one ton of North Korean methamphetamine in the Philippines for storage, “[b]ecause we already anticipated this thing would happen . . . [whereby] we cannot bring out our goods right now.”


As a prelude to the 2013 100-kilogram methamphetamine deal described above, Lim and Reyes Peralta arranged to have a sample of the methamphetamine delivered to Shackles, who sent that sample (along with a second sample from another supplier) to an address from which the methamphetamine samples would be sent to the United States. 


These two methamphetamine samples tested at more than 98% and more than 96% pure. Lim and Reyes Peralta agreed to deliver the 100 kilograms of North Korean methamphetamine in Thailand, from where they understood it would be shipped to the United States by boat. Lim and Reyes Peralta arranged for a “dry run,” sending a shipping container of tea leaves from the Philippines to Thailand in order to test delivery channels that would later be used for the shipment of methamphetamine.


Stammers, Shackels, and Alexander agreed to provide security, transportation, and storage for the 100 kilograms of methamphetamine once it arrived in Thailand. 


Alexander, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club (“OMC”) in Thailand, was to be the “ground commander,” supervising an armed crew of OMC members providing security for the methamphetamine. Stammers and Shackels were to arrange for the 100 kilograms to be taken to a warehouse, counted, re-packaged, and delivered to a marina in Thailand, to be transferred to a boat that would deliver the methamphetamine to the United States.


In September 2013, Lim and Reyes Peralta traveled to Thailand in order to receive payment for the 100 kilogram methamphetamine deal. Stammers, Lim, Peralta Reyes, Shackels, and Alexander were each arrested by Thai law enforcement on September 25, 2013.


Stammers, 44, Lim, 53, Reyes Peralta, 41, Shackels, 30, and Alexander, 43, have each been charged with conspiracy to import methamphetamine into the United States. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. If convicted, each of the defendants faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment.


This prosecution is being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard, Aimee Hector and Anna M. Skotko are in charge of the prosecution.


The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Angelwitch Bangkok - one of Bullard's bars
That mention of the 'Outlaws' motorcycle gang handling the stash was very interesting. Up until recently the President of the Outlaws motorcycle gang in Bangkok was one Glendon Bullard - who also ran a number of bars in Nana Plaza (still does but he is offloading) Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

He pays a lot of money to Thai police and gets very angry when his businesses and his private houses are still raided by police. Last year the CSD prompted by the DEA raided one of his properties in Chinag Mai - and found nothing - much to their surprise.  As the CSD were in the payroll loop it did not surprise me. The last I saw of Bullard was at CSD HQ with a lawyer from Tilleke and Gibbens - not his usual lawyers, but he wanted to be taken seriously. He was complaining of harrassment.

I know what he means. At the time CSD were harassing a boiler room 'whistleblower' I had taken to them.(Mr.Bean's Holiday). The Crime Suppression Bureau have the singular honour of carrying out a series of raids on boiler rooms in Bangkok and never catching the bosses.

Bullard fired the former Sergeant at Arms Lars Karlsen - a well known character who ran a security business GS Security and Services employing Thai police officers and also owned a bar called 'Hookers' in Sukhumvit Soi 33.

The DEA references to North Korea, somewhat understandably the world's whipping boy at the moment, seem a bit vague, It appears the drugs suddenly appeared from nowhere. Rather than North Korea, my guess is that somewhere along the line a little gloss may have been put on this story which the DEA were more than happy to polish.  I mean why in Bangkok would one seek North Korean 'ice' when there is a free flow of the stuff coming over the border from Burma.

Probably sounds good in the United States however, where geography is not the subject most rigorously taught in schools. On my last trip to New York when I said that I had flown from London, my inquisitor asked: 'Ontario?'


 
GSS car park!

I loved the following letter which appeared on ThaiVisa.com under the name vernamcipher which was uncanny in some of its accuracy and left a few readers gobsmacked. A lot is garbage of course.

This is just wrong.

The DEA got Alex and Scott.  Almost unbelievable

From previous news stories, the DEA set up a sting operation in Phuket, allegedly to induce these guys to plan a crime, which they could not likely commit (i.e., the killing of a DEA agent.)  As you may recall, the American DEA swooped down on Phuket and grabbed an American, one Mr. Joseph Manuel Hunter, see this news link - -

http://www.dailymail...heast-Asia.html

Quoting from the above article - -

"Mr. Hunter's alleged accomplices were to remain in police custody in Thailand until the DEA files a request for extradition, Mr. Somyot said. U.S. Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler in Bangkok declined to comment on the case and referred questions to the DEA in Washington. A DEA spokesperson didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking additional information"

Then, today, this story says that they have all been extradited to the USA - -

http://englishnews.t...orted-us-today/

Of the entire group, I personally knew two of them, Scott Stammers, who I knew mostly by association with his friends, but then there was the “Big-Guy”, “A-Man”, “The Slovakian”, “Alex”.

Alex was my friend.

Why did this happen?  Why did the DEA go offshore to arrest a Slovakian in Thailand?  First Viktor Bout the Russian, and now Alex the Slovakian.

This is just wrong.  Alex was a hero.  Alex was a good guy.  Alex played by the rules. When the Nigerians brought in righteous product to Soi 3, everybody got a cut.  When the Lumpini (and Thonglor) Brown Shirts wanted payday, the cash was delivered.  
 
Outlaws signs in Bully's Pub, Sukhumvit
When the DEA’s local puppets, the NSBs, (Narcotic Suppression Bureau) wanted to bring order to chaos in the Nana area, Alex did his part.  Alex was a team player.  (and Alex played on lots of teams)

Alex is part of local folklore and legend.  When Lars the Norwegian and the Outlaws MC got out of control at Bully’s Pub, who straightened it out?  Alex.  When the NSBs wanted “show” arrests of non-compliant Nigerians, who arranged it?  Alex.  
 
When the Local Brown Shirts wanted their cut of the trade from the more complaint groups of Nigerians, who arranged it?  Alex.

Buying and selling products, and offering protection are all normal economic activities. Drug users are just like beer users and tobacco users.  
 
Drug users like the way it makes them feel.  Beer users like their beer, it’s all the same.  At least it’s not a scam.  With drugs, a real product is manufactured, it’s bought, and sold, and consumed, and it’s a tidy little business.   The economic wheel turns, and every body is happy.

Why is the drug business, in Thailand, as allegedly aided by Alex and his many friends, of any concern to the USA?  What gives the USA the right to order the arrest and then the extradition of Alex?

Alex has never even been to America.  How does a Slovakian break an American law in Thailand?  What right does the USA have to enforce its drug laws, or any of its laws, internationally, worldwide?  Why is the USA the World’s Police Officer?  Why does Thailand, or any other country, allow its police and military to be controlled by the USA’s Police?

And it’s not as if Alex wasn’t green lighted by the Americans.  (Oh yes, here comes the good part.)  The American FBI, (one black agent, and one white agent), paid a visit on Alex in 2008.  
 
Scott Stammers and I witnessed the meeting in the little restaurant on the ground floor at NanaTai Mansion/Hotel near the Tobacco Monopoly on Suk Soi 4.  The agreement?  As long as Alex stayed out of the international arms trade, then the FBI didn’t care what else Alex did.

I guess you can’t trust a handshake from a DHS/ICE/FBI Agent, now can you?  Alex was further green lighted by the Local NSBs when he went to work for them in the Nana area. 
 

Again, a deal is a deal.  In fact, later that year, (2008) when Alex and Scott Stammers were doing cross-border work between Thailand and Cambodia, Agent Gary Phillips, (DHS/ICE, now on a career-path “time-out” in Blaine, WA)   Agent Phillips, through an intermediary, tried to lure Scott and Alex into a gun-buy deal.  Alex didn’t fall for it, and everyone thought that was finally the end of America’s attempts at entrapment.

What about the rest of us foreigners who live here?  I’m not an American, so how can I know every American law?  Maybe I’m breaking some American law right now, and I don’t even know it.

How can I ignore all of the previous “Green Lights”, and the many suspicious interconnections?  Simon Wagstaff had both Scott and XXXX on his payroll at various times for air cargo security work.  Simon had a contract with the USA’s Department of State, and there was lots of cosiness between Alex and some of the plain-clothes security guys who ran the U.S. Embassy’s security detail.  All one big happy family, until they turn on you.

This entire Phuket entrapment operation stinks a wee tad.  For example, if you know the Viktor Bout story, Viktor was big buddies with the American CIA, but when America finally rolled over on him, the DEA set up the fake Columbian-Narco terrorist deal.  Sound familiar?  Alex had the international “OK” from DHS-FBI-ICE, but when it came time to do him, the DEA invented a non-existent crime, namely the “hit-man” scam in Phuket.



Phillips (sunglasses) with John Mark Karr 
* In 2010 ICE agent Gary Phillips was an embroiled in a controversy in California in a child sex abuse case originating from Cambodia, The defendant Michael Pepe was alleged to have sexually abused seven young girls aged 9 to 12.

Pepe came across as a very unsavoury character, who hired a prostitute to find young girls and paid off their mothers,  He showed no remorse and the case was publicised as a warning to US citizens not to seek sex with children abroad, He was sentenced to 210 years.

After Pepe's conviction the defence applied for a retrial when they discovered that Phillips had been putting everything into this case - but more especially into one of the trial interpreter Ann Luaong Spiratos a Vietnamese who was described as "very hot".



Pepe
The LA Times reported: ""Only after Mr. Pepe was convicted did the defense learn that the Vietnamese language interpreter was not the disinterested interpreter that she appeared," wrote deputy federal public defender Charles C. Brown. "We now know that what the jury heard during the trial was not what the witnesses said but what the interpreters said they said." Brown argued that Spiratos' alleged bias spread to another interpreter she brought in to work on the case.

Gary Phillips was also the agent who took the 'false' confession in Bangkok of John Mark Karr for the murder of JonBenet Ramsay, aged 6, in Bolder, Colorado. This appears to have been one of the most botched murder cases in American criminal history. His presentation at a press conference in Bangkok was something of a media frenzy.


FOOTNOTE:Of course I do not share the politics of this punter, this is Ice, we are talking about. But I love his false assumptions and his belief that people should get immunity from crimes because they know a few US officials.  Quite frankly drugs dealers should not trust the DEA and of course nobody should trust drugs dealers, particularly when they are up to all sorts of other stuff as well. So here we have it. Readers may by now getting to understand why specifically I am not in Thailand at the moment.

There is no suggestion of course that Simon Wagstaff knows anything about what his general manager was doing, if indeed his general manager was doing anything. Moreover as we state above he claim he terminated Stammers quite some time before all this. He further states that Alex was never on his payroll.

5 comments:

  1. Quite amusing the "friend" of Alex should express indignation that Alex should be arrested and deported on a warrant to the USA. One wonders which bit of 100kgs of methamphetamine is alleged to have been exported to the US he did not understand. But, I am confused by the timeline. Did Stammers gain bail? The Singapore thing is 2015. What's going on?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting stuff....

    I'm guessing naming these characters would have been more difficult if you were so 'in the field' so to speak...

    No surprise that these criminals buy businesses which they find actually require other skills to run successfully...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stammers and "Alex were never owners of ASA. Stammers was employed temporarily and was terminbated in 2010. "Alex" was never employed by ASA. The article is erroneous and misleading, I have written separately to Mr. Drummon.

      Simon P. Wagstaff BEM
      Founder & Chairman
      The ASA Group

      Delete
  3. No I have clarified that - It puzzled me too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Mr. Drummond,

    Please contact me urgently - I have sent you my private contact details via your "contact" link, above.

    Your articles is erroneous and misleading. Stammers was terminated from ASA, by me, in 2010. "Alex" has never been on our payroll.

    I need a retraction and an apology published ASAP, I have already sent your article to our legal department, but I would hope to hear from you first, before we feel the need to sue you for libel.

    Yours faithfully,

    Simon P. Wagstaff BEM
    Founder & Chairman
    The ASA Group

    ReplyDelete