Drug smuggling up as traffickers access 'new chemicals'

Drug smuggling up as traffickers access 'new chemicals'

Packages of crystal methamphetamine wrapped in yellow tape are displayed by the Narcotics Suppression Bureau after operations targeting the
Packages of crystal methamphetamine wrapped in yellow tape are displayed by the Narcotics Suppression Bureau after operations targeting the "Man Thuk Med" (Fun in Every Single Pill) crime syndicate, which used around 20,000 Facebook accounts to recruit more than 9,000 drug pushers. Some 467kg of crystal meth, 499kg of marijuana, 800g of heroin and over 16 million meth pills, were seized during raids last month. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Production of illicit drugs is increasing in neighbouring countries as producers gain access to "new chemicals" to replace precursors that have been blocked to them, and more drugs are being smuggled into Thailand, defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit said on Thursday.

An updated overview of the drugs situation had been provided to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who ordered decisive action against the illegal trade,  Lt Gen Kongcheep said. He did not elaborate on the new chemicals.

Gen Prawit ordered provincial authorities to take serious steps to tackle the drug trade and coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Office to destroy the money trail of the traffickers and masterminds, the spokesman said.

He also ordered officials to cooperate more with authorities in neighbouring countries to stop drug production near the border and to suppress smuggling.

Any officials found involved in drugs would face harsh punishment.

The spokesman said an estimated 8% of smuggled methamphetamine was retailed in Bangkok and nearby provinces, while most of the crystal meth, or "ice", was smuggled to third-party countries through the South.

People were gaining confidence in the authorities' efforts against the drug trade, and were being more cooperative in coming forward with information, according to Lt Gen Kongcheep.


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