Drug haul of B4.5bn last month
Authorities are claiming success in their latest anti-drug operation, seizing 4.5-billion-baht worth of narcotics in just one month.
They have also arrested 12,118 suspects believed to have some "involvement" in drug trafficking, Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said, unveiling the outcome of the mission carried out last month.
He said the suspects were linked to various types of drugs, including 29 million methamphetamine pills, 132 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine and 274 kg of heroin. The drugs were usually smuggled into Thailand from neighbouring countries and their trafficking is "constantly increasing", Lt Gen Kongcheep said.
While the country's northern territories are viewed as a hot spot for smuggling, drug couriers also use other routes. He said some of the drugs can be carried via northeastern borders and even by boat to the southern provinces of Chumphon and Ranong.
Authorities cannot afford to be complacent, he said. "Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon stressed the need to work on intelligence reports and destroy all drug networks," he said.
A three-pronged strategy is being used to combat drugs, he said. Soldiers will tighten patrols along the borders; police will keep an eye on at-risk places, and health officials will run rehabilitation programmes for drug addicts.
In another story, police have arrested four suspects in Ratchaburi for possessing drugs, including more than 16,000 speed pills, in a two-day crackdown.
The officers said a tip-off led to the arrest of Ekkarin Nueataengyen, 39, and Chanyaphak Sisanit, 33, in Ratchaburi's Muang district.
Mr Ekkarin is allegedly a key member of a drug network in the province. He was previously jailed for drug charges, police said.
Following his latest arrest, Mr Ekkarin allegedly admitted to receiving the drugs from Ekkasit Ritthikrai, 38.
His confession led to the arrest of Mr Ekkasit, together with the other suspect identified as Phairot Chayakan, 26, police said.