Eight members of a Nigerian-led transnational drug network were arrested during a police raid on 17 locations in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
Teams from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) and officials the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted the raids to apprehend suspected drug offenders, Pol Lt Gen Khirisak Tantinawachai, acting chief of the NSB, said on Friday.
During the operation, three Thai women, four Nigerian men and a man from Ivory Coast were arrested. Seized from them were four cars, 17-baht weight of gold ornaments and some amounts of illicit drugs - 350 grammes of heroin, 49 grammes of cocaine and six grammes of crystal methamphetamine. The total estimated value of the seized items was about 2.5 million baht.
The Thai women were identified only as Thatsanee, Kranokkra and Rattanaporn.
The operation followed information that a Nigerian leader of a drug network based in Nigeria had directed a close aide, Joseph or Mickey, living in Thailand, to sell illicit substances in the kingdom. Mickey, with his Thai wife Thatsanee, opened a bank account to receive money transfers from the drug trade, according to Pol Lt Gen Khirisak. Mr Mickey had his Thai wife, Thatsanee, to open a bank account to receive money transfers from the drug trade, said Pol Lt Gen Khirisak.
The network had sold illicit drugs at night entertainment venues in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces. It had also smuggled illicit drugs to sell in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.
With around 20 members, the network laundered money earned from the drug trade by purchasing various products such as clothes, shoes and dried fish, which were then exported to Africa through logistics firms.
The officer said that Thai women, who were wives or girlfriends of Nigeran drug suspects, acted as nominees to launder money acquired from the drug trade for the network.
The eight suspects were in police custody for legal action. The investigation was being extended to arrest other network members.