B43bn of drugs to go up in smoke

B43bn of drugs to go up in smoke

Narcotics worth 43 billion baht seized in 168 drug-related cases this year will be incinerated on April 20, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.

FDA secretary-general Paisarn Dunkum said the drugs were criminal evidence taken from drug dealers and smugglers in the first part of this year.

"Before we have it all destroyed, the relevant authorities need to inspect and check the drugs to ensure the impounded evidence is real," Dr Paisarn said.

The FDA chief said about 40 tonnes of narcotics will be incinerated by Akkhie Prakarn Public Co Ltd at the Bang Pu Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan province.

These drugs will be destroyed in an incinerator that produces heat as high as 1,200C -- a temperature that is guaranteed to reduce pollution and destroy carcinogenic elements.

Going up in smoke, will be 27.7 tonnes of "ya ba" or methamphetamine pills, 12.1 tonnes of "ya ice" or crystal meth, 170 kilogrammes of heroin and other narcotics.

Ashes from the incineration process will be treated as hazardous waste and sent to be disposed of in a sanitary landfill that complies with standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Paisarn said.

The FDA is tasked by law with overseeing drugs seized in narcotics cases and to keep them in a safe and secure location.

"The FDA sends narcotics to be disposed of only after the Criminal Court orders us to do so," Dr Paisarn said.

Before incineration, the drugs are required to be checked thoroughly by relevant agencies, meaning they must document weight, condition and, above all, "check that the narcotics [being burnt] are real," he said.

Yesterday, several agencies -- the FDA, Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Royal Thai Police, Department of Medical Sciences, Office of Forensic Science, Narcotics Control Management Centre, and the army -- came to inspect the impounded evidence.

All inspected drugs will be signed off by the working team, and subsequently sent to a secure warehouse before they are incinerated on April 20.

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