4 drug couriers killed in Chiang Rai

Four Muser tribesmen were killed in a clash between a team of drug couriers and rangers from the Pha Muang Task Force in Chiang Rai's Thoed Thai district early on Sunday morning.

About 230,000 methamphetamine tablets were seized after the clash.

The exchange of fire occurred at about 7.55am when a 15-strong team of rangers from the 31st Rangers Regiment of the Pha Muang Task Force was on patrol in a valley near Ban E-kor Armae village at the Thai-Myanmar border in Thoed Thai district. The rangers had been sent to the area after information was received that a group of drug couriers would cross the border into Thailand with about one million speed pills.

At a spot about 2km north of the village, the patrol spotted the group of about seven armed men, each carrying a backpack. When ordered to stop for a search, the men opened fire and a clash went on for about 15 minutes.

In a search of the area after the clash, the bodies of three men in camouflage uniforms were found with three AK47 rifles and three backpacks.

The rangers followed a trail of blood and found the body of another man and a backpack with about 230,000 methamphetamine tablets in it.

Capt Sumit Saenduangdee, commander of the ranger patrol, said the traffickers were members of an armed Muser unit led by Lt-Col Yi Se, a drug suspect wanted under a warrant in Thailand with a bounty of 2 million baht for information leading to his arrest.

It was initially reported that the Muser group would deliver about one million speed pills from a Red Wa drug production base opposite Thoed Thai district.

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