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19 Year-Old Major Drug Suspect Arrested with 1 Billion Baht (US$31,315,500.00) in Bank Accounts

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BANGKOK  – Drug suppression police have arrested a 19-year-old major trafficker with more than One Billion Baht (US$31,315,500.00) in his bank account and eight other suspects in separate police raids in Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi. More than 6 million speed pills were seized.

Drugs including speed pills and crystal methamphetamine, weapons, and other items seized from the nine suspects were displayed during a media briefing on Wednesday.

In the first police operation, officers from the Patrol and Special Operations Division (or 191 Patrol) arrested four men and seized 240,000 speed pills, two cars and five mobile phones with a combined worth of over 2 million baht.

The suspects were arrested on Bang Na-Trat Road in Bang Na district, Bangkok, said Pol Maj Gen Samrarn Nuanma, commander of the 191 Patrol.

The suspects were identified as Thananon Ekwaranon, 29; Yachu Khalaku, 28; Saran Jitprapa, 29; and Natthawat Saengchoo, 33.

The arrests came after police investigators received a tip-off that Mr Thananon and his accomplices were involved in the drug trade in the Bang Na area. A police officer posing as a drug buyer contacted the gang to purchase speed pills. When the gang showed up to deliver the drugs, officers arrested them.

The suspects confessed the drugs came from a drug network in the North, said Pol Maj Gen Samrarn.

In the second raid, four men were arrested in Thanyaburi district of Pathum Thani province with 5.4 million speed pills and 876.8 grams of crystal methamphetamine. A pickup truck, a van, four cars, three motorcycles and two pistols were seized.

The four were Somphop Khamchan, 20; Manas Sarabut, 30; Sarayut Wongtom, 24; and Surachat Khuanbuppha, 32.

Pol Maj Gen Samrarn said detectives then extended the investigation, leading to the seizure of another 1.4 million speed pills at a house in Bang Bua Thong district, Nonthaburi.

The dates for the first two raids were not given.

In the third raid, on May 5, major drug suspect Nonthawat Saputhawong, 19, was caught in Thon Buri area, Bangkok with 3.7 million baht cash and Bt 1billion in Bank Accounts.

The teenager was among four men involved in an earlier drug bust, when 1.5 million speed pills were seized from their van on Nov 26 last year. The three other suspects were caught, but Mr Nonthawat managed to flee, said Pol Maj Gen Samrarn.

A police investigation found that more than 1.4 billion baht passed through the 19-year-old suspect’s bank accounts between March 15 and May 5.

Pol Lt Gen Sutthipong Wongpin, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said the investigation was being extended and more arrests would follow.