CHIANG RAI – The Police and Army in Chiang Rai province have joined together in an operation to bust a drug trafficking network believed to have been involved with transporting millions of methamphetamine from neighboring countries Myanmar and Laos into Thailand.
The operation that came into affect in Chiang Rai on Sunday is part of authorities’ efforts to suppress this notorious trafficking ring, that has been active in 13 provinces.
The combined force seized almost 100 million baht worth of assets from key members of the ring who have been charged with various counts, including possessing and selling of illegal drugs, and money laundering.
Security sources said the simultaneous raids would be used as a model in an all-out anti-narcotic effort under the supervision of the military rulers.
The operation will target people who are not involved directly in drug dealing but willingly possess the ill-gotten assets of drug dealers in an attempt to prevent them being seized.
Yesterday’s raids were conducted at 61 locations in Chiang Rai, Phayao, Phetchaburi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Chai Nat, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Pathom and Songkhla, where assets such as homes and luxury cars belonging to the sae-Tern family are located. There were 10 arrests.
Deputy national police chief General Pongsapat Pongcharoen said the raids were the result of a drug bust in March in which Kornthong Leesaikerd, a member of the Sae-Tern family, was arrested and three million amphetamine tablets and five vehicles that were used to transport the pills in Phetchabun were seized. It was discovered the pills were smuggled into Thailand from a neighbouring country through Loei province.