Thailand new hub, warns drugs czar
The appearance in court this week of suspects connected with the smuggling of a huge quantity of drugs from a port in Thailand to Australia confirms that Thailand is becoming a major route for drug cartels in the Golden Triangle, according to Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).
"This case reiterates that Thailand has become a connecting point for the Golden Triangle drug production area and destination countries due to its convenient transportation," he said in referring to a seizure at the Port of Melbourne in April.
The case regained attention this week as suspects appeared in court on Thursday charged with drug offences over Australia's largest-ever seizure of methamphetamine, which had been transported from Bangkok in stereo speakers.
Earlier this year, Australian police detected vacuum-sealed packages concealed in speakers which contained crystal meth and heroin, valued at 24.8 billion baht at the Melbourne waterfront before tracking down the smugglers, identified as Stephen Mizzi, 38, and married private customs agents Rachel Cachia, 37, and Donovan Rodrigues, 37 who were later sentenced to life imprisonment.
Australian police reportedly seized 1,580kg of ya ice and 72kg of heroin.
Meanwhile, National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda yesterday ordered police nationwide to keep their eyes open for drug trafficking during the New Year period.
Deputy police spokesperson, Pol Col Kissana Phatanacharoen said police and officials will step up measures to counter narcotics smuggling. This includes beefing up checkpoints at roads connecting with neighbouring countries.
Security forces have also been told to be vigilant for smugglers who cross mountains in northern areas into Thailand.
The ONCB is expected to join in by setting up more checkpoints to inspect vehicles and ramp up efforts to suppress drug addiction in communities.
In addition, the police will step up campaigns to crack down on drug use in schools and nightclubs, said Pol Col Kissana.