Narcotics suppression police arrested four alleged transnational drug smugglers and seized 16 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine destined for New Zealand, at a resort in Nong Khai province.
The suspects, three Thai men and one Lao man, were apprehended at the Love resort in tambon Pakho of Muang district on Tuesday, Pol Gen Roy Ingkhapairoj, deputy national police chief, said on Wednesday.
The suspects were identified as Nawiboon Khenkham, 21, Weerachit Sinthorn, 20, Anuchit Masanthia, 22, all from Phetchabun province, and Lao man as Saengduen Jummanee.
Seized from them were 32 packages weighing about 16 kilogrammes in total, and four mobile phones.
The arrests came after Narcotics Suppression Bureau police seized two parcels containing illicit drugs being sent to Australia.
On Aug 30, a parcel containing three bars of compressed heroin, 14 kilogrammes in total, was seized in Chiang Mai province. The drugs were stuffed in containers labelled whitening body lotion and were being sent to Australia. The parcel containing the drugs was detected at a DHL Chiang Mai branch, Pol Lt Gen Sarayut Sa-nguanpokhai, chief of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, said.
On Sept 3, NSB police seized another parcel containing three bars of compressed heroin, weighing 14 kilogrammes, in jars labelled hair treatment cream. This parcel was also destined for Australia and was also detected at a DHL Chiang Mai branch, Pol Lt Gen Sarayut said.
NSB investigators learned the two parcels belonged to Mr Nawiboon. Police spied on him and learned that he planned to send another shipment. He was then tracked down to the Love resort in Nong Khai province and arrested on Sept 13, along with three alleged gang members.
Sixteen kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine were found in their room. The drugs were in 32 large jars labelled hair treatment cream, Pol Lt Gen Sarayut said.
The suspects were charged with having a category 1 drug (crystal methamphetamine) in their possession.
A reliable police source alleged Mr Nawiboon and the other suspects were members of a major drug network. They had ordered drugs from a neighbouring country for delivery to other countries on several occasions. This time, they had planned to smuggle the crystal methamphetamine to New Zealand, but they were arrested.
The police investigation was being expanded.
A police officer shows a pack of crystal methamphetamine found in large jars of hair treatment cream. (Photo supplied: Wassayos Ngamkham)