Police arrested an alleged major drug trafficker in Songkhla and seized assets worth over 54 million baht for examination during raids in several provinces on Tuesday morning.
Teams of narcotics suppression police raided 30 locations in Songkhla and other provinces, Pol Gen Roy Inkhapairoj, deputy national police chief, said.
During the operation, Paosee Arwaemae, 50, of Narathiwat, was apprehended at a house in tambon Khuan Lang, Hat Yai district of Songkhla.
The man was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on Dec 30 for illegal possession of illicit drugs with intent to sell, Pol Gen Roy said.
The arresting officers seized assets held by him worth about 54 million baht in total for examination, the deputy national police chief said. They included seven houses, blocks of land, 21 cars and 20 motorcycles - all believed bought with money earned from drug trafficking.
The police swoop followed the arrest on Nov 6 of two men, Arha Ma and Ardinan Ma, and seizure of 300 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine and 4,000 meth plls at a checkpoint in Chumphon, Pol Gen Roy said.
Pol Lt Gen Sarayut Sa-nguanpokhai, chief of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, said those two arrests led investigators to focus on Mr Paosee, who was believed to be a major figure in a drug trafficking ring.
He was found to have links with other suspects in the Central Plains involved in the smuggling of large amounts of drugs from the Northeast and the North to Bangkok and its vicinity and also to the South for trafficking to other countries, the NSB chief said.
Investigators then obtained court arrest warrants for Mr Paosee and six other suspects.
During questioning, Mr Paosee allegedly confessed to having been involved in smuggling drugs from neighbouring countries for several years.
Pol Lt Gen Sarayut said police teams were tracking down the other suspects.