The new war on drugs promised by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has got under way. It looks a lot like the old war on drugs. Police held briefings and staged photo opportunities for the media after weekend operations in Rayong and Surin provinces. They identified 14 men and women arrested, and showed several thousand speed tablets and packets of ya ice, or crystal meth. It was not a particularly impressive reboot of a renewed campaign to suppress illicit drugs.
Police in Rayong arrested two men and a woman, and charged them with dealing ya ba tablets. They seized 6,000 speed tablets in the two-part operation, spread over two days and involving three separate searches. The only interesting part of the operation is that one of those arrested said their operations were directed, and their drugs supplied by an imprisoned drug dealer in the provincial lockup.
The Surin operation was equally depressing. A task force of police, local officials and soldiers under the command of the NCPO raided several homes and arrested suspected street-corner ya ba sellers. In all, 11 men are in lockup awaiting trial, and the task force took exactly 3,602 speed tablets off the streets.
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