Gunfight leads to drug bust

CHIANG RAI : About 2.2 million speed pills and some 50kg of crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice, worth about 1 billion baht, were seized after police exchanged gunfire with drug suspects in Chiang Rai's Mae Chan district on Thursday night.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung briefs reporters in Bangkok on a major drug haul seized in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district on Thursday night. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

Three of the suspects were later arrested.

Police, acting on a tip-off, stopped four vehicles at Mae Chan-Chiang Saen intersection after learning that a narcotics network of Hmong hill tribespeople was shifting drugs through the spot.

The drivers of the four cars sped up, prompting the officers to give chase.

Police said the suspects opened fire at officers during the chase, prompting officers to shoot at the tyres of their vehicles.

When a car and a pickup truck were forced to stop, the pickup truck driver, Pratheep Saeyang, allegedly got out of the vehicle and threw a grenade at the officers. The bomb failed to go off and the suspect was shot by officers and injured.

Two other men - Salideth Saetao and Sithichai Yanikon - were also arrested.

The officers were unharmed in the operation.

The two impounded vehicles were searched. Police found 10 sacks of methamphetamine pills and packages of ya ice. A pistol and a grenade were also found with the suspects.

In Phatthalung's Tamot district, police found 4.2 million baht in cash, some speed pills and ya ice in a car parked at a market in Makree tambon municipality. They believe a drug syndicate operative may have been waiting for a new driver.

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