Major Isan drug bust nets Thai, 2 Lao

Major Isan drug bust nets Thai, 2 Lao

A Thai man and two Lao nationals were arrested Wednesday in the northeastern province of Bung Kan with 34kg of crystal methamphetamine and almost 24,000 speed pills worth 107 million baht in their possession, police said.

Chawoey Chada, 48, a resident of Bung Kan, and two Lao people identified as Nikorn Phalee, 24, and La Somwong, also 24, were nabbed by a combined force of narcotics suppression authorities while they were transporting the drugs.

Authorities seized 34kg of crystal methamphetamine, 23,367 speed pills and 5kg of compressed marijuana from them. The drugs had a combined street value of 107 million baht.

Pol Lt Gen Chumpol Panraksa, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 4, said a Lao national identified only as "Kaew" smuggled the drugs from Laos across the Mekong River.

He said the three suspects admitted they were hired to move the drugs to drop sites in the province for further distribution and they were paid 5,000 baht each for the job.

Chawoey was recently released from prison after serving a jail term for drug trafficking, said the commissioner.

He said police would investigate if the seized drugs were related to a separate confiscation of 28kg of ice and the arrest of a junior police officer in Bangkok's Suan Luang district on Tuesday.

In Bangkok, Pol Lance Corporal Pitsanupong Ngamthura, an officer of Traffic Police Sub-division 6, was nabbed when he showed up with a black suitcase on floor 5B of a parking building of Lumpiniville condominium in Soi Sukhumvit 77.

The officer reportedly confessed he picked up the drugs from the Thian Thale area in Thon Buri. Police also seized 80kg of ice from the Thian Thale area in a follow-up investigation.

Pol Lt Gen Chumpol said authorities suspected drug traffickers operating in the northern and northeastern region were changing routes.

He said police would also extend the investigation to determine if they were part of Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha's gang.

The three suspects in Bung Kan were initially charged with having illicit drugs in possession with intent to distribute, he added.

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