Police seize more assets of major drug gang

Police seize more assets of major drug gang

Real estate, cars and other items with a total value of B1bn linked to case that began in 2021

Police search one of the houses linked to a transnational drug gang during a series of raids in Bangkok on Saturday. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)
Police search one of the houses linked to a transnational drug gang during a series of raids in Bangkok on Saturday. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)

Police have seized additional assets of a major transnational drug network in Bangkok, bringing the total value of the assets confiscated since 2021 to over a billion baht, says the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

The operation on Saturday was jointly conducted by the ONCB, the Metropolitan Police Bureau and the Patrol and Special Operations Division.

The gang first came to the attention of authorities in February 2021, following the arrest of 11 suspects and the seizure of 4.16 million methamphetamine pills, 9 kilogrammes of crystal meth and 5kg of cannabis, said  Pol Lt Gen Panurat Lakboon, the ONCB secretary-general.

A subsequent investigation into the transaction route led to the arrest of a foreigner, identified as Min Min Wu, on March 6, 2022. He was caught while withdrawing money from a bank account linked to the gang in Mae Sot district of Tak.

Min Min Wu was believed to have overseen the network’s financial transactions and purchases. Cash plus assets including commercial buildings, houses and cars worth a total of around 517 million baht were confiscated, but investigators believed moire assets remained to be found.

New information led to raids on Saturday in Prawet, Bang Kapi, Phra Khanong, Klong Toey and Watthana districts of Bangkok, Pol Lt Gen Panurat said.

The police froze 16 targeted assets including 10 houses in a project in the Srinakarin area and five condominium units, worth a total of 537.9 million baht. Other seizures brought the grand total to 1.05 billion baht.

Pol Lt Gen Panurat said the case was linked to raids that took place between 2020 and 2021 on seven drug networks, one of which was found to have transferred money from southern Thailand to foreign drug rings in northern Thailand. Some of the money was transferred outside the country and some was used to buy gold, cryptocurrency and real estate in central Thailand.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong told the media that police would continue to expand the investigation to track down all suspects and prevent drugs from spreading throughout the country, and to eradicate and freeze the assets of major drug networks.

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