1m yaba pills seized, queenpin arrested

Police have made a dent in the drug trade on two fronts, with the seizure of 300 million baht worth of methamphetamine in Chiang Rai and the arrest of a suspected drug ring chief in Chon Buri.

  • Published: 16/03/2013 at 03:53 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Officers on Saturday seized one million methamphetamine pills and arrested one suspect in Mae Saruay district of Chiang Rai.

Police manning the security checkpoint at the Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai intersection in Mae Saruay intercepted a pickup truck with the Chiang Rai licence plate No PP-1272, after receiving a tip about an attempt to deliver illicit drugs.

Photo by Pongpat Wongyala

They searched the vehicle and found one million ya ba pills with a street value estimated at 300 million baht hidden inside. They arrested the driver, Jia Sae Tha, 43, a Hmong tribesman.

Police said the suspect told them that he had been paid 300,000 baht to deliver the pills to a client in Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai.

Meanwhile, police in Chon Buri arrested a suspected drug lord and froze about 20 million baht worth of assets.

Pol Col Theerapol Chindaluang, deputy chief of Police Region 2, said two suspects who were nabbed last Sunday for possession of 64,000 methamphetamine pills told them that Saipin Pookpoo, 44, was the mastermind behind the operation.

He said Mrs Saipin's bank transaction records showed that she was linked with the operation. The woman was apprehended on Thursday at her husband's house.

Police have frozen her family's assets, including 150,000 baht in cash, several properties and houses and personal belongings totalling about 20 million baht.

Police also found ammunition in the house and charged her husband, Thanapat Pookpoo, 46, with illegal possession of ammunition. He was later bailed out and disappeared, said Pol Col Theerapol.

He said the Pookpoo family ran a furniture shop in Chon Buri as a cover and was believed to have been involved with drug operations for a long time. They have been linked to distribution of illegal drugs to the central and eastern regions of Thailand.

Mrs Saipin has denied all charges but police said they were confident that they had enough evidence to put her away.

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