SING BURI: Three more suspected members of a major drug network operating in the Central Plains region have been arrested in the adjoining provinces of Lop Buri and Sing Buri.
The network had about one billion baht in circulation, according the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB).
In one operation, narcotics suppression officers from the Sayob Pairee task force yesterday arrested Arnon Kiram, 21, in a field about one kilometre from his home in tambon Tha Luang district of Lop Buri.
NSB commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Chinnapat Sarasin, said officers first went to his house, but found it was locked from the outside. They entered the premises and found a fan was still turned on.
The officers flew a camera drone over the surrounding area and saw a man running into a corn field. The man was caught and identified as Mr Arnon.
The suspect was wanted on an arrest warrant for colluding in the illicit drug trade.
He is alleged to be the right-hand man of Jittaphan Meemuang, alias Jun Bordin, previously arrested and jailed for drug dealing in the Central Plains, particularly in Sing Buri and Lop Buri. According to the police, Mr Arnon runs a soil excavation business and restaurant as a front for his illicit activities.
Mr Arnon admitted he knew of Jun's drug network but denied being part of it. He said a member of the network had previously asked him to transfer some money at an ATM, but the amount was not large.
He said he fled because an employee at his restaurant phoned to tell him that police were there looking for him and this frightened him.
Another police team arrested Pornthep Phucharoenwanit, 30, who was in the monkhood. He was found collecting alms in a village in Muang district of Sing Buri. He was defrocked by his temple abbot and charged with colluding in the drug trade.
The team also searched a house in Bang Rachan district of Sing Buri, where they arrested Atchariya Chuenchom, 30.
Both Mr Pornthep and Mr Atchariya were also members of Jun's drug network, according to Pol Lt Gen Shinnaphat. Their job was to find new customers and collect money.
Police say Jun smuggled drugs from northern border provinces and stored them at a warehouse in Sing Buri. Members of his network sold the drugs to customers.
He allegedly entered the drug trade in 2010. A court issued a warrant for his arrest in 2018. Narcotics suppression officers caught him in Sing Buri on June 14.
Pol Lt Gen Chinnapat said they had now caught 16 members of the Jun drug network.
Authorities have seized more than 50 million baht worth of assets, including houses, cars and bank accounts from them.