Police seized 100 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine in Pattani on Friday and arrested a suspect who reportedly said he had evaded arrest after taking part in an even bigger drug run four months earlier in Phatthalung.
Narcotics suppression police arrested Imron or Lan Sani, 39, of Phuket at a security checkpoint in tambon Tha Kamcham of Nong Chik district, said Pol Gen Roy Ingkapairote, a deputy national chief.
Officers seized the suspect’s pickup truck containing 100kg of crystal meth. Another pickup was also seized after it was abandoned by a second suspect.
The arrest was the result of a follow-up investigation launched after officers seized 279kg of crystal meth in Phatthalung on March 31, said Pol Lt Gen Sarayuth Sanguanpokhai, commissioner of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB).
Following the seizure and the arrest of some of the alleged smugglers in Muang district of the southern province, NSB investigators learned that the gang to which they belonged was planning to smuggle more drugs into the South during the current long holiday period.
On Friday they spotted a pickup with its bed covered by a tarpaulin trying to avoid the Koh Mor Kaeng security checkpoint in Nong Chik and managed to stop it. A search found five fertiliser sacks containing packs of crystal meth in the bed of the pickup.
During questioning, Mr Imron reportedly confessed that the drugs were destined for a recipient in Narathiwat. He also told investigators that he had taken part in the Phatthalung operation, driving ahead of the vehicle carrying the 279kg of the drug that was seized. At the time, he managed to flee.
This time, he was not so lucky. The suspect said he had chosen the long weekend because he believed police would be busy directing traffic and might not have time to search vehicles.
He told the arresting team that another pickup with Ranong licence plates had driven ahead of his vehicle to clear the way. Officers later found it abandoned along the route, but the driver had managed to flee, said Pol Lt Gen Sarayuth.
The suspect was charged with colluding in illegal possession of illicit drugs. He was handed over to police at the NSB sub-division 4 for legal action. The investigation is being extended to arrest those involved and to seize assets of members of the drug gang, said the NSB chief.