3 held over crystal meth shipment

3 held over crystal meth shipment

Two Thais and a Nigerian were arrested after packages containing methamphetamine were allegedly found hidden in mattresses to be shipped to Hong Kong.

Officials from the Seaport Interdiction Task Force (SITF) arrested Kornwik Jirabutr, 27, at a shipping company in the Navamin area of Bangkok's Bung Kum district on Thursday.

They found 10 kilogrammes of crystal meth hidden in folding mattresses on a pickup truck, intended for shipping to Hong Kong.

Two alleged accomplices -- a Thai woman and a Nigerian man -- were later arrested at a rented house in Ayutthaya's Bang Pahan district. Similar mattresses and packaging equipment were seized from the house as evidence.

The pair were identified as Natcharee Phenglam, 28, and Christian Chibuike Emmauel, 31, by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) on Facebook yesterday.

The SITF comprises law enforcement officers from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and other agencies.

During questioning, Mr Emmauel reportedly confessed the drugs had been smuggled from Laos.

Wichai Chaimongkhon, secretary-general of the ONCB, said the arrests followed the recent seizure of 314kg of heroin at the Laem Chabang port. The heroin was hidden in containers of paint and destined for a third country.

Investigators learned that a man known as Mr Ek, identified as Keng On-iem, 38, was behind the smuggling of the drugs, Mr Wichai said.

Mr Ek was wanted on an arrest warrant for the smuggling of 75kg of heroin to Taiwan in August, he said.

He remains at large and has reportedly fled into hiding in Laos, the ONCB chief said.

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