Smuggler of assault rifles halted near Cambodia border

Smuggler of assault rifles halted near Cambodia border

Seized weapons are shown after the arrest in Trat province late Tuesday night. (Photos by Jakkrit Waewkraihong)
Seized weapons are shown after the arrest in Trat province late Tuesday night. (Photos by Jakkrit Waewkraihong)

TRAT: A pick-up truck with military stickers was found carrying illegal firearms at a checkpoint in the eastern province bordering Cambodia late Tuesday night.

An investigation is being carried out to determine the motive and whether the suspect is a soldier.

On Tuesday, Pol Capt Singh Naree, lead inspector of Mai Rud police station, and Capt Kasem Rodjeen, director of the marines of the 532nd regiment, led teams to patrol and inspect vehicles going in and out of Khlong Yai district of Trat.

During the patrol, authorities identified a mysterious four-door Toyota pick-up truck with Bangkok licence plates and a plastic cover over its bed at about 10pm.

The vehicle, driven by Chayut Prasertrit, 53, also had a 4th Calvary Regiment sticker which further raised suspicions.

Mr Prasertrit, who was from Muak Lek district of Saraburi province, was then told to open the bed of his truck, where a cache of military-grade weapons was found.

They comprised two Tavor assault rifles, four M-16 rifles, 20 M-16 upper receivers, four M16 lower receivers and three hand flares.

Mr Chayut admitted that he was delivering the weapons from a neighbouring country to a customer in Saraburi.

The illegal weapons had reportedly been dropped off in Chalalai Port in Khlong Yai district where he picked them up. Mr Chayut insisted that there was no accomplice, but authorities believe that he is linked to a bigger weapons smuggling operation as he admits he made several runs before.

The joint investigation team also found the suspect’s ID card, credit/ATM cards, a Kasikornbank passbook, 2,000 baht in cash, two mobile phones, and a number of vehicle registration documents.

It has not yet been confirmed whether Mr Chayut is a soldier. 

Authorities inspect the truck used to carry the smuggled weapons.

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