Police believe that the New Zealand man had become aware that a warrant for his arrest had landed in Thailand, and in recent times, had moved again from Phuket to live in an apartment in Samut Prakan near Bangkok.
A top lieutenant in a leading international crime syndicate was taken into custody in Bangkok on Wednesday morning by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), quickly handed over to US authorities and deported from Thailand to face racketeering charges in the United States in short order. It has emerged that 43-year-old Shane Ngakuru was a leading member of the New Zealand Comancheros motorcycle crime syndicate and a ‘super facilitator’ for huge drug shipments here. He had lived in Phuket up to recently with his Thai wife where he ran three business concerns.
A leading crime figure in the international drug dealing world was arrested by Thai police in Samut Prakan province on Wednesday morning in an operation led by the legal attaché for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a joint operation between Thai, US and New Zealand law enforcement agencies.
Shane Ngakuru is the cousin of the worldwide leader of the motorcycle criminal gang The Comancheros which is active in organising huge drug shipments throughout the world.
Ngakuru, a cousin of the leader of the worldwide Comancheros crime gang, entered Thailand two years ago, working as a point man for Asian networks
It is understood that Mr Ngakuru, who entered Thailand in 2020, is what is termed by international police agencies as a ‘super facilitator’ involved in negotiating huge shipments of illegal narcotics particularly methamphetamine for the crime syndicate led by Duax Hohepa Ngakuru who is known as the ‘international commander’ of the ruthless and violent drug syndicate and who is believed to have his headquarters in Turkey.
Mr Ngakuru has been active, while in Thailand, in liaising with Asian transnational drug gangs seeking to work with The Comancheros in facilitating large drug shipments.
Police agencies led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), however, are particularly interested in the activities of the New Zealand national arrested yesterday in the distribution of encrypted mobile telecommunications devices to criminal gangs across the world at a reported fee of $2,000 for six months at a time.
Retailer of encrypted mobile devices to other crime networks which led to a huge crackdown last year resulting in 800 arrests in an FBI sting operation
In June last year, police forces in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Lithuania launched a massive crackdown on users of such encrypted devices in what was called Operation Trojan Shield.
US security agencies had managed to infiltrate the encrypted devices or may have instigated the project from the outset, thus allowing massive flows of information on the day-to-day activities of the criminal gangs to fall into the hands of police and intelligence agencies.
800 criminal suspects were arrested in overnight police operations across the globe.
Mr Ngakuru was a key distributor of these phone applications developed unknown to criminals syndicates by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The raids, in June last year, saw tons of illegal drugs seized and millions in cash unearthed as well as massive amounts of valuable intelligence which police are still studying.
Facing serious racketeering charges in the US as well as drug importation charges at home in New Zealand
The deportation of Mr Ngakuru to the United States will see him face serious charges under Federal anti-racketeering provisions while, in New Zealand, he still faces charges that were brought against him last year concerning the importation of large consignments of methamphetamine, cocaine and MDMA drugs such as Ecstasy into the country.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on June 24th 2021 which was subsequently followed by an Interpol Red notice.
The Comancheros Motorcycle Club is a criminal syndicate established by a Scottish immigrant to Australia in 1968 as a motorcycle gang that quickly became involved in illegal activity and racketeering.
Comancheros crime gang expanded into New Zealand
It is understood that the Scotsman, William George ‘Jock’ Ross, used the name because of his love for the 1961 John Wayne movie The Comancheros although, in 1965, a similar gang in California was mentioned in a book linked with the Hells Angels motorbike club, also active in Australia.
The Comancheros, it is understood, extended their operations subsequently from Australia to New Zealand where they are a leading source of crime.
On Wednesday, Detective Inspector Paul Newman spoke to the New Zealand Herald about the arrest in Bangkok.
The senior police officer said the detention of the crime figure was the result of cooperation and hard work by international law enforcement agencies and on behalf of the New Zealand Police, he thanked those involved.
Top New Zealand cop describes Ngakuru as a big player both for his involvement with the encrypted devices operation and his role as a ‘super facilitator’
‘Ngakuru had been identified during Operation Trojan Shield as allegedly being involved in serious drug offending, and he has been the subject of an international red notice,’ Inspector Newman explained. ‘Operation Trojan Shield, led by the FBI and co-ordinated with the DEA, AFP, Europol and numerous other law enforcement partners from more than a dozen countries, was a covert law enforcement operation infiltrating encrypted devices used by transnational crime groups.’
He offered readers an insight into how the Comancheros international crime syndicate operates and the role of a ‘super facilitator’ such as Shane Ngakuru.
‘A super facilitator has links to a global network of manufacturers and supply and distribution chains to successfully import methamphetamine to New Zealand,’ he said. ‘The super facilitator is usually based offshore and is never in direct contact with the shipment.’
CIB chief says that the Kiwi ran three business concerns in Phuket with his Thai wife before taking flight to Samut Prakan to avoid arrest on a warrant
In Thailand, the Head of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) who carried out the arrest, Police Lieutenant General Jiraphop Phuridech, told reporters on Wednesday that Ngakuru was arrested outside a shopping centre that morning in the Lat Krabang district of Bangkok by officers.
After initially overstaying his visa in Thailand, he moved to Phuket with his Thai wife where he established several business concerns including a tattoo parlour, a restaurant and a fitness centre.
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It appears that Mr Ngakuru had suspected that a warrant for his arrest was in the hands of Thai authorities when he recently left Phuket to live in an apartment in Samut Prakan.