Authorities from four countries have intercepted drug precursors destined for the Golden Triangle and intended to make 30 million methamphetamine pills in their latest crackdowns on Thai and foreign drug gangs.
The notorious drug-producing region near the Mekong River is constantly on the target list of the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) in its drug war, ONCB secretary-general Niyom Termsrisuk said on Tuesday.
Over 54% of narcotics seized in Thailand are smuggled in via the northern territories, he said.
In its recent campaign, which ran from Oct 1 to Dec 31 last year, about 1,000 officials from Thailand, China, Myanmar and Laos jointly confiscated two tonnes of drug precursors as they were being carried to the Golden Triangle. This was enough to produce 30 million speed pills.
Thai and Myanmar authorities earlier launched an operation to "seal off" the Golden Triangle by blocking the chemicals from being trafficked into its drug production sites and, at the same time, preventing drugs from being transported out of the area, which covers 959,000 square kilometres.
"This is our pro-active, anti-drug operation outside the country," Mr Niyom said.
Domestically, authorities seized up to 200 million speed pills and impounded 243 million baht worth of suspects' assets, marking an increase from three years earlier, Mr Niyom said.
A total of 90,000 suspects were nabbed and 30,000 drug addicts sent to the state-run rehabilitation programme.
According to Mr Niyom, meth pills are a major concern as they are the most widespread narcotics in Thailand. Crystal meth, or ya ice, is likely to be further transported in foreign countries.
"We're also keeping a close eye on ketamine [ya k] due to it being so widespread at night entertainment venues," he said.
The Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) is helping the ONCB monitor drug couriers who transport the items through mail services offered by private companies.
The firms are being asked to install security cameras at their service points and ask senders to identify themselves and pack parcels there so staff will know what types of items they are sending, Isoc spokesman Maj Gen Thanathip Sawangsaeng said.
Meanwhile, police are searching a key drug agent who has been using a jet ski to deliver drugs along Bang Chalong canal in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district, after their pre-dawn operation which led to the arrest of four drug suspects on Tuesday.