Three massive busts net B2bn worth of drugs
Familiar faces among 13 suspects arrested
Thirteen drug suspects have been detained and drugs with a combined street value of over 2 billion baht seized in three crackdowns carried out this month, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) revealed Tuesday.
Ten million methamphetamine tablets, 37 kilogrammes of heroin, 2kg of crystal meth and 917kg of cannabis were seized in total, police said.
The first crackdown was carried out in Sukhothai on Sunday in a joint operation conducted by the NSB and officials from Mae Sot customs checkpoint in Mae Sot district of Tak, police said.
The methamphetamine tablets and heroin were found hidden in a pick-up truck. They were found to have come from Chiang Rai province and were destined for Ayutthaya, police said.
The detained suspects included 67-year-old Prawit Saema, 54-year-old Ying Saema, Napha Kitphanitsakun, 33, and 49-year-old Kue Saema, police said. They were all related.
Prior to the crackdown, police said they had received an intelligence report supplied by a police informant that a large drugs haul would be transported from Chiang Rai to Ayutthaya on this route.
In the second seizure on Sept 15, two foreign men and a Thai woman were detained with 2kg of crystal meth at a hotel in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, police said.
The suspects were 41-year-old Emeka John Obimma from Nigeria, Isidor Rein Reyn, 61, from New Zealand, and 37-year-old Wararat Chansot, police said.
Police said they had received a tip-off that someone would be coming to Thailand to pick up the drugs, which were allegedly supplied by an African trafficking network operating in Thailand. The drugs were destined for New Zealand, police said.
Mr Obimma and Ms Wararat were found to have been staying at the hotel. They had already delivered a suitcase containing the narcotics to the other suspect when the police pounced.
The man claimed he did not know what was inside the suitcase that he had taken possession of, police said.
The New Zealander claimed he had been tricked into taking the suitcase to a person in his home country, police said. He said he was visiting Thailand on a sponsored three-day trip after having won it as a prize in a contest, police said.
In the third case on Sept 13, six suspects were detained with 917kg of cannabis in Muang district of the northeastern province of Udon Thani, police said.
Thirasak Saensanoh, Thirasak Toli, Rungthiwa Thabunma, Romli Rakrit, Kusulai Kulong and Anuson Ahman were the detained suspects, police said.
The bust was preceded by another tip-off about a plot to smuggle the drug from a border area of Bung Kan in the Northeast to Satun in the South, police said.
A number of drug dealers and producers linked to the latest crackdowns were implicated in previous cases, said Sommai Kongvisaisuk, chief of the NSB.
In an earlier joint effort by the NSB and its Malaysian counterpart, two factories in Penang were raided and a large amount of methamphetamine seized, he said.