CHIANG RAI - A drug smuggler was shot dead in a fight with soldiers in Mae Sai district near the Myanmar border on Thursday night and 290,000 speed pills later seized.
The smuggler's body was found on Friday when a team of soldiers, police and local officials, led by Col Kidakorn Chanthara, commander of the Phamuang task force, inspected the scene of the overnight clash in tambon Wiang Pangkham.
The unidentified man was lying dead with a green rucksack on his back containing methamphetamine pills. About 20 metres away from the body was another bag containing drugs. The two bags held a total of 290,000 speed pills
A team from the Phamuang military task force spotted 6-7 armed men, all carrying rucksacks, crossing the border into Thailand in Mae Sai district while on patrol on Thursday night. When signalled to stop for a search the smugglers opened fire on the soldiers.
The two sides exchanged shots for about 5 minutes, then the smugglers melted away into the night forest.
Police believed the men belong to an ethnic group in Myanmar known to be involved in the drug trade.