Intel sharing with Australian police nets results

Intel sharing with Australian police nets results

ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol and Australian federal agent Davina Copelin exchange drug samples during a ceremony on Thursday at the ONCB headquarters in Bangkok. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol and Australian federal agent Davina Copelin exchange drug samples during a ceremony on Thursday at the ONCB headquarters in Bangkok. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Officials from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and Australian police are sharing drug-related information to boost efficiency in cracking down on domestic and transnational trafficking rings.

Wichai Chaimongkol, secretary-general of the ONCB, on Thursday presided over a ceremony to exchange samples of impounded illicit drugs between the ONCB and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Those present included the AFP senior officer in Thailand, Simon Lalic, and Australian federal agent Davina Copelin.

The move is aimed at examining drugs and setting up a database to support probes that will lead to the arrest of major transnational drug traffickers in Thailand and Australia, as well as to increase the kingdom's narcotic examination and analysis processes.

Mr Wichai said the ONCB and AFP previously exchanged samples of impounded drugs -- on Oct 18, 2018 and Sept 20, 2019.

"The latest exchange involves 20 samples of crystal methamphetamine or 'ice' weighing one gramme each, and another 20 samples of methamphetamine pills. They were seized during drug crackdowns between 2017 and 2019," he said.

The exchange of information and drug samples between the countries has shed light on the differences of the chemicals used as drug precursors, and their production processes, he added.

The information will be used to analyse drug cases and establish connections between domestic and transnational drug cases and set up a database of drug profiles in Thailand, Mr Wichai said.

He said Thailand and Australia have worked together well. An information exchange over the seizure of 314 kilogrammes of heroin worth about 900 million baht led to the arrest of a major dealer in Australia last month, he said.

Mr Lalic said the collaboration comes under the Joint Taskforce agreement between the AFP and Thai law enforcement authorities to fight narcotics trafficking and transnational organised crime committed in both countries.

He said Australia has a state-of-the-art chemical lab equipped to analyse chemical structures of drug precursors.

"Moreover, the AFP has also supported efforts to boost the capabilities of Thai authorities by sending its experts to impart knowledge on various aspects of drugs, such as drug analysis and precursors," he said.

Meanwhile, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau recently said that its officials have arrested 18 suspects and seized another 6.2 million speed pills, 1.7 tonnes of marijuana, 325kg of crystal meth and 5.4kg of heroin in seven operations over the past few weeks.

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