As cost of meth falls, so do rewards paid

As cost of meth falls, so do rewards paid

It is costing drug traffickers less to make methamphetamine and crystal meth and prices have fallen, so the rewards paid for drug seizures should also be lowered, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said on Wednesday.

Speaking after a meeting with senior ministry officials, Mr Somsak said he had instructed the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and other agencies involved to step up efforts to stem the spread of drugs, particularly methamphetamine.

According to information received by the ministry, drug producers had increased their daily production, with lower overhead costs. 

Formerly, a rotary pill press could produce 432,000 methamphetamine pills per day. Now, they were using  a hydraulic system and could produce as many as 6,912,000 pills per day. Production costs for methamphetamine, or ya ba, had fallen to only 55-60 satang per pill, Mr Somsak said.

At the same time, the production cost of crystal meth, or ya ice, had fallen from 50,000 baht to 26,000 baht per kilogramme, the minister said.

Therefore, the rewards paid to officials for drug seizures should also be lowered.

The reward paid for methamphetamine should be reduced from 2 baht to 50 satang per pill. For crystal meth, the reward should be reduced from 200 baht to 50 baht per kilogramme.

Mr Somsak said a proposal had been made to lower the rewards, but did not say when this would be effective.

Officials would get rewards from seized drug-related assets to offset the loss, he added.

Mr Somsak said drug suppression agencies had been told to keep a close watch for drug money being laundered through commodities or cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

The Department of Investigation had also been told to look into this.

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