A wealthy Myanmar arms broker with close ties to the leader of Myanmar’s brutal military regime was acquitted on Tuesday by a Bangkok court on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, raising fears that he will be free to resume his activities aiding the junta.

U Tun Min Latt, whom the United States placed under sanctions last year for supplying the Myanmar regime with weapons, had spent 16 months in a Thai jail awaiting trial. The case is the first known instance of a close associate of Myanmar’s army commander, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, being arrested abroad and put on trial since the military seized power in a coup three years ago.

Thai authorities had accused Tun Min Latt and three associates of engaging in a scheme to launder drug money by using it to buy electricity in Thailand and sending it across the border to Myanmar. But the Thai criminal court found that the record of bank transactions presented by prosecutors did not provide enough evidence to prove the charges.