CHIANG RAI: Two alleged drug couriers were arrested after 2 million methamphetamine pills were found in their vehicle when they were stopped in Muang district of this northern province.
Police supported by soldiers arrested Sanan, 33, from Chiang Rai’s Wiang Chiang Rung district, and Don, 39, of Nong Bua Lamphu’s Sri Bun Ruang district, on Tuesday night.
Details were announced by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board Region 5 on Wednesday. The suspects’ surnames were withheld.
The duo were charged with collusion in possession of illicit drugs with intent to sell, and related offences.
The operation followed the arrest of four drug suspects, two men and two women, and seizure of 4 million meth pills from their three cars in Ngao district of Lampang on June 15 this year. The drugs were destined for the Central Plains, according to police.
The extended the investigation led to Mr Sanan and a Mr Suradet, both Hmong men with no jobs but who were unusually rich. They were often involved in cock fighting.
According to investigators, the two men had driven separately into the mountains along the border in tambon Mae Yao of Chiang Rai’s Muang district on several occasions in August and were involved in smuggling drugs into the country. (continues below)
Officers with the 2 million meth pills in sacks inside plastic bags. (Photo supplied/ Panumet Tanraksa)
Security officials had kept a close watch on their movements. On Tuesday night, the two men had travelled by separate pickup trucks from tambon Ban Du of Chiang Rai towards tambon Mae Khao Tom. One of the vehicles turned off into a corn plantation and returned about 30 minutes later. The two vehicles then travelled back along the same road.
A road checkpoint was hastily set up in tambon Ban Du. One of the vehicles was stopped. It was driven by Mr Sanan and Mr Don was his passenger. A search found 10 fertiliser sacks on the back seat inside the cabin. Each sack contained 200,000 meth pills, or 2 million in total.
The other pickup truck was allegedly driven by Mr Suradet and was found abandonded along the road before the checkpoint. He had fled into the night.
During questioning, Mr Sanan allegedly confessed that Mr Suradet had hired him and Mr Don to collect the drugs from a man they did not know on Road 1418 in Chiang Rai and deliver them to a garbage dump on Road 131 between Ban Du and Huai Pla Kang. Mr Sanan said he was being paid 10,000 baht and had done a similar job twice before, according to police. Mr Don said he was being paid 5,000 baht.
Police were attempting to find the elusive Mr Suradet.