One pill limit or face meth dealing charge
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One pill limit or face meth dealing charge

Anutin says there's plenty of room in jail

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul

A ministerial regulation is being amended so that anyone with more than one methamphetamine pill in possession, instead of 15, will be regarded as having the pills with intent to sell, not for personal use as at present.

At present, those found with 15 or fewer pills in their possession are regarded as having them for personal use only and subject to rehabilitation, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday. "This has been exploited by people who actually intend to sell them," he said.

The bill has been prepared by the committee on treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts and is ready for the minister's signature. Later it will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval and then published in the Royal Gazette.

Mr Anutin, who is also deputy prime minister, said the amendment would be a more effective legal measure against the trade in illegal drugs and help protect young people, their families and society.

"The reason the committee reached this decision is that we want to be more decisive and see effective enforcement of the law, after it was suggested that we seem to fear there is not enough room in prison for drug convicts," the minister said.

Mr Anutin said that with a person able to have only one meth pill for personal use, drug traders would no longer be able to exploit the regulation.

Meanwhile, an army patrol seized 21 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine packaged as Chinese tea from the bank of the Mekong River, and arrested one suspect, in That Phanom district.

A patrol from the Surasak Montree Task Force, led by Capt Thanachote Na Nakhon, lay in wait on the riverbank at Ban Nakham in tambon Nam Ko on Sunday night after a tip-off that the drugs were arriving from Laos, authorities said on Monday.

A man later identified as Sompit Bamrungwong, 55, a labourer from Mukdahan, was arrested after arriving in a Toyota Rivo pickup to collect a big bag that had been left on the bank.

The bag contained 21 packages labelled as Kwan Yin Wang Chinese tea, but they actually contained about 1kg of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, each.

Mr Sompit allegedly confessed he was paid 5,000 baht to deliver the crystal meth to a storage area in Mukdahan.

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