11 drug plants 'churn out 20m pills a day'
The Narcotics Suppression Bureau admitted Sunday that at least 11 drug manufacturing facilities were located "near Thailand's northern border" with a combined daily production capacity of more than 20 million pills.
The authority is wary of a possible influx of illicit drugs into the country during the Songkran festival this week.
Pol Lt Gen Sommai Kongwisaisuk, the bureau commissioner, said the agency was keeping a close watch on the situation. He did not name the country where the drugs are made and smuggled, which is Myanmar.
Details of the drug plants first emerged on the CSI LA Facebook page.
The drug plants were going full throttle ahead of Songkran amid plans to flood the country with illicit drugs, it said.
CSI LA, which kept tabs on the luxury watch collection of deputy prime minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, went on to say the government was withholding the information on the drug situation.
The Facebook page also claimed that during the past three months, over two billion speed pills and more than 10 tonnes of ice (crystal methamphetamine) ws smuggled in, but only one-third of that amount was seized.
Pol Lt Gen Sommai said authorities were working with the neighbouring country to combat illicit drugs and they focused on financial measures.
The Tourist Police Bureau said it was stepping up a campaign to stem trafficking in narcotics during Songkran when 900,000 foreign visitors are expected.
Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy commissioner, said the bureau was coordinating closely with other agencies in monitoring tourist groups suspected of being hired to smuggle in drugs.
Meanwhile, three men were arrested and a total of 28 kilogrammes of heroin with a street value of 100 million baht seized on Saturday from a shipment of para rubber pillows destined for Hong Kong at Bangkok's Khlong Toey port.
Kulit Sombatsiri, the department's director-general, said Sunday that 80 bars of heroin were found in 40 para rubber-made pillows declared by Y&S Solutions Trading Co and bound for Hong Kong.
He said authorities became suspicious when images from an X-ray scanner at the port showed rectangular objects inside the para rubber pillows.
When they cut the pillows open, they found the drug -- two bars hidden in each of the pillow and each bar weighing about 350 grammes.
Three men, one Thai and two from Hong Kong, were detained and handed over to the police Narcotics Suppression Division for questioning. The company would also face a charge of attempt to smuggle heroin out of the country.
Mr Kulit said the company, which was registered in January this year, would be blacklisted by the Customs Department after the drug haul. Since January this year, the department seized large amounts of illicit drugs worth about 144 million baht.
Meanwhile, a Thai woman and seven French nationals were rounded up in an anti-drug operation in Sydney last week.
The arrest followed a five-month probe by authorities to investigate the supply of MDMA, cocaine, LSD, ketamine and cannabis. Seized were 1kg of various illegal drugs and $Aus235,000 in cash.
- See also: 28kg heroin bust at Bangkok Port