CHIANGRAI TIMES – A joint drug suppression operation of policed and military personnel confiscated over 4 million methamphetamine pills smuggled into Thailand’s northern border province of Chiang Rai from neighbouring Myanmar.
The seizure took place late Thursday night by a combined unit of Mae Chan police and paramilitary rangers from the Pha Muang Force. The authorities acted after being tipped off that drug traffickers planned to smuggle a huge shipment from a Myanmar into the kingdom along the border in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fa Luang and Mae Chan districts, according to Pol Maj Gen Surachet Topunyanon, commander of Chiang Rai provincial police.
Responding to the tip, the authorities set up checkpoints along the border and at the targeted locations.
During the inspection, drivers of a pickup truck and two motorcycles tried to veer off from the Jakona village checkpoint in Pa Tung subdistrict by driving away. The authorities tracked them to a village and found the pickup parked with suspicious rucksacks.
Investigators found 34 rucksacks containing 4,080,000 meth pills in the pickup cab and that the vehicle belonged to Chidpol Buangern, a Lampang resident.
The authorities speculated the driver fleeing the scene might be Wutthipong Kitbumrung, Jakona village head assistant. They will speed up search for Mr Wutthipong and Mr Chidpol for prosecution
In Mae Sai Police arrested three men with 200,000 speed pills in their possession in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district on Friday, Pol Col Thanomsak Yospen, the Mae Sai police chief, said.
Acting on a tip-off, Mae Sai and narcotics suppression officers hid in wait in front of the immigration checkpoint near the Mae Sai – Tachilek bridge in Mae Sai district.
They spotted a white van crossing the bridge from Tachilek as predicted, and followed it to the Regina Hotel in tambon Wiang Phang Kham.
At the hotel, the driver, identified later as Surachet Taluang, 52, was met by Chamras Prompanya, a hotel security guard, and they both took two plastic bags out of the van.
Police then moved in for a search and found out the two bags contained 200,000 speed pills.
The two said they were paid 60,000 baht to deliver the drugs to a person they named as Thongdee Sriwichai in Mae Sai district, Pol Col Thanomsak said.
Mr Thongdee was later arrested. He admitted to having ordered the speed pills from Myanmar and the drugs were to be further sent to Bangkok, the Mae Sai police chief said.
Police investigations were continuing.