Police in Chiang Rai have arrested a couple for overseeing the smuggling of more than one ton of crystal meth from the North to southern Thailand.
The 48-year-old man and his wife, 31, were apprehended at their home in Mae Chan district of Chiang Rai.
Police accuse them of arranging and supervising the transport of 1,199 kilograms of crystal meth to the South. Which would later be smuggled to a third country.
A source said that investigators found that the couple were at a condominium in Bangkok overseeing the transport of drugs seized in the southern province of Surat Thani last Saturday.
The drugs were concealed in the cargo of a six-wheeled truck stopped on south-bound Highway 41 in Surat Thani Province. There were 30 sacks of crystal meth covered with sacks of cow dung. The were loaded in the back of the blue Isuzu truck registered in Trang province.
Three men were arrested.
The source said the “ice” was smuggled from Laos and destined for a buyer in Malaysia. The arrested woman had arranged for several transits of 170-1,000kg at a time. She also paid her courier squad about 500,000 baht per trip.
Crystal Meth Flooding from Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai
Thailand’s Anti-drug Tsar has told a press briefing that crystal meth has once again begun to flooding into Thailand despite Myanmar resent crack down. Covid-19 cause smuggling delays in narcotics production but they have since revamped.
Thailand Secretary-General of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Niyom Termsrisuk said drug traffickers have been smuggling large quantities of crystal meth recently to unload stock which had become stuck in the country due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
“As the government started to relax Covid-19 measures, drugs from the the Golden Triangle have made a return. Smuggling had been obstructed by national lockdowns as well as Myanmar’s heavy crackdown on production,” Mr Niyom said.
So far for the 2020 fiscal year, 11 tons of crystal meth have been seized by authorities. He believe that most consignments were en route to third countries such as; Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Thailand a hub for meth and crystal meth transport
“Thailand’s geography, with its borders adjacent to drug production sites in the Golden Triangle, and its status as a hub that connects land, air and maritime transport make it hard for the country to avoid being used as a route to smuggle crystal meth to other regions,” said the secretary-general.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has noted that Thailand and countries in the Mekong sub-region are facing more severe narcotic problems. Especially with crystal meth. Above all due to the expansion of synthetic drug manufacture in the region.
The Golden Triangle is now the world’s leading producer of meth as production has shifted to Yaba and crystal meth. Including for export to the United States and across East and Southeast Asia.
According to the ONCB’s operation centre, only 10.8 tons of crystal meth were seized in the whole of the 2019.
Over 4tons of crystal meth already seized
During the Covid-19 lockdown easing from May–July, the Thai authorities made eight arrests. Relating to the smuggling of over 100kg of crystal meth, accounting for 4.3 tons so far this year.
On July 11, police in Surat Thani arrested three men for smuggling over one ton of crystal meth hidden in cow dung. The smugglers said they had brought the crystal meth from storage in Samut Sakhon. They were going to drop it in Satun province in Southern Thailand. The haul was expected to fetch Bt3.6 billion if sold abroad.
Over the past two weeks alone, officers made two consecutive arrests for drug trafficking. On is Surat Thani and the other in Narathiwat. The seized amounts of crystal meth weighed 2.44 tons in total.
Source: Bangkok Post, UNODC