Drug syndicate 'treasurer' arrested, B186m assets seized

Drug syndicate 'treasurer' arrested, B186m assets seized

Drug suppression officials display some of the assets seized at the house of the alleged money handler for a major drug network, in  Bangkok's Lat Phrao area on Tuesday. (Photo: ONCB)
Drug suppression officials display some of the assets seized at the house of the alleged money handler for a major drug network, in Bangkok's Lat Phrao area on Tuesday. (Photo: ONCB)

The alleged money handler for a major drug network has been arrested in Bangkok and assets worth 186.7 million baht seized, Office of the Narcotics Control Board secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol said on Wednesday.

The suspect was found to have transferred more than 2 billion baht to bank accounts in Myanmar. 

Mr Wichai said the dismantling of the drug network followed the arrest of two suspects and seizure of 1.5 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, on Oct 18, 2019 at a checkpoint in Tak province. 

With information they provided, arrest warrants were obtained for nine other suspects. Seven were soon caught, The two others fled to Myanmar.

On Oct 22 this year, one of the two fugitives, Kerdchana Mina, was arrested while sneaking into Thailand through Sangkhlaburi district in Kanchanaburi.

Officials learned from Mr Kerdchana that the seized crystal meth belonged to Thapanan Thamratthada, alias Nu Chen, who had a Thai woman named Lin Chal, 34, as an assistant. Ms Lin allegedly looked after the money side of the drug network's business 

Court arrest warrants were obtained for Mr Thapanan and Ms Lin.

Mr Wichai said that  Provincial Police Region 6 investigators found that Ms Lin had opened bank accounts in the names of two companies - one in Mae Sot, Tak, and the other in Min Buri, Bangkok.

A warehouse in Min Buri was rented in the name of Sunday World Trading Company to store processed wood and was used as a front for laundering drug money.

Ms Lin was arrested at her house in Lat Phrao area of Bangkok on Tuesday, Mr Wichai said. 

Authorities also seized assetts worth about 186.7 million baht. They included 30 million baht in bank deposits, two land title deeds, two cars and foreign currencies worth US$3.2 million (about 97 million baht).

Ms Lin was found to have transferred 2,197.4 million baht to banks in Myanmar. The ONCB had informed drug suppression police in Myanmar about this for further action.

Mr Thapanan, the prime suspect in this case, and another suspect, Yong Wongsawangkul, were still at large, Mr Wichai said.

Mr Wichai and Pol Gen Suchart Thirasawat, a deputy national police chief, led drug suppression officials to search the timber warehouse in Min Buri on Wednesday. The value of processed wood stored there was still being assessed, Mr Wichai said.

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