Police asked to hunt suspect in ketamine case

Police asked to hunt suspect in ketamine case

Officials display 11.5 tonnes of what was believed to be ketamine worth nearly 30 billion baht at a warehouse in Chachoengsao on Nov 12. (Photo supplied by Office of the Narcotics Control Board)
Officials display 11.5 tonnes of what was believed to be ketamine worth nearly 30 billion baht at a warehouse in Chachoengsao on Nov 12. (Photo supplied by Office of the Narcotics Control Board)

Authorities have been asked to find a man who rented a warehouse where "ketamine" was seized, only for tests to show it was actually a compound used as a food additive and stain remover.

The Office of the Narcotic Control Board (ONCB) has filed a complaint with the Narcotic Suppression Bureau (NSB), asking NSB police to investigate and hunt for a man who rented the warehouse in Chachoengsao province where 466 sacks containing a substance believed to be ketamine were seized on Nov 12.

The complaint, with evidence attached, were filed on Monday by ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol and received by NSB deputy commissioner Pol Maj Gen Pornchai Charoenwong.

Mr Wichai said he would like NSB police to conduct a further investigation and arrest a Thai man who rented the warehouse in Chachoengsao province in August for 70,000 baht per month to store furniture. However, the warehouse was instead used to store sacks of what was believed to be ketamine.

The ONCB also found that the man had also prepared documents and shipped the sacks stored in the warehouse abroad.

The owner of the warehouse told the ONCB that that man could not be contacted.

It was believed he had fled and gone into hiding after a report that Taiwanese authorities had seized 300 kilogrammes of ketamine in September, Mr Wichai said.

Mr Wichai said 466 sacks of what was believed to be ketamine were transported from the Chachoengsao warehouse to the ONCB Region 1 office in Lat Lum Kaew district, Pathum Thani province. But in initial testing of samples taken from 60 sacks, the substance turned out to be trisodium phosphate, not ketamine.

The ONCB chief said the remaining 406 sacks were being examined and the result would be announced at a press conference at the ONCB Region 1 office on Tuesday, Nov 24.

"After the 406 sacks are examined, we will know whether or not any of them contain the real narcotic drug (ketamine) and how much," Mr Wichai said.

He said the sacks were initially believed to contain ketamine because initial samples tested with a solution turned purple. Authorities were not aware that when tested, trisodium phosphate would produce the same colour -- purple -- as ketamine.

Pol Maj Gen Pornchai, in response, said the NSB had asked the Royal Thai Police Office to set up a committee to investigate the matter. Members of the enquiry committee may include representatives from the Office of the Attorney General.

He said the NSB had also sent a team of investigators to the North to seek the whereabouts of the man who rented the warehouse in Chachoengsao.

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