Kiwi facing drugs charges in Thailand

A New Zealander has been arrested on drugs charges in Phuket.

Garry Halpin, 52, a tourist police volunteer in the Thai holiday city, was arrested yesterday evening.

Halpin was arrested at the Chalong Villa Resort and Spa, where 18.45g of crystal methamphetamine was found in a plastic bottle. Other drug paraphernalia, including a digital scale, was also found in his room.

He was charged with possession of a category 1 drug with intent to sell.

Crystal meth is known as Ya Ice in Thailand.

Police received a tip-off about Halpin after a 25-year-old man was arrested on December 13.

He told police he sold ya ice to Halpin, who would then sell the drug to tourists and teenagers in the area, the Phuket Gazette reported.

Police set up a sting operation and had the man call Halpin.

"He was told that there wasn't much left in the batch. However, there was enough for us to come in and make an arrest," Lieutenant Colonel Bangprasert said.

Halpin told Phuketwan.com today he had not signed a statement nor made a confession and denied selling drugs to tourists.

He was likely to appear in court tomorrow, the website said.

Halpin was well known to locals and tourists and often helped police with their inquiries and offered advice to tourists.

- Eakkapop Thongtub of the Phuket News

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