Three smugglers have been busted after 1,199 kilograms of crystal meth, or ice, was found and seized by police in Southern Thailand. Surat Thani police found the drugs under sacks of cow dung in a lorry.
Pol Maj Suchart Kuachim said that at about 5am on Saturday police at a security checkpoint stopped a six-wheel Isuzu lorry for a search. Three men in the lorry said they were delivering sacks of cow dung.
Upon a search, however, the police found 30 black plastic bags hidden under the sacks of cow dung. The plastic bags contained a total of 1,199kg of crystal meth or ice with a street value of about 600 million baht.
The three men all from Trang province – were arrested the Bangkok Post reported. The drugs and the lorry were seized. The lorry driver, said he had been hired for 100,000 baht to pick up the drugs from Samut Sakhon province. He was suppose to deliver the drugs to Satun Province.
Pol Gen Suchart Teerasawat, a deputy national police chief, flew to Surat Thani on Sunday morning to join Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, deputy chief of Region 8 Provincial Police and other officers to investigate.
The deputy police chief said that according to the database of the Region 8 Office of the Narcotic Control Board, it was believed the crystal meth had been smuggled into Thailand via the northern border.
From Thailand, it would be moved to a neighbouring country and then to other countries. Particularly in Europe, where ice is in high demand, he added.
Thailand and Laos Governments Target Drug Syndicates at Borders
Thailand Narcotics Control Board has sought help from Laos to step up efforts against drug syndicates along the Thai-Lao border. Drug Syndicates have changed their routes from the North to Northeast. Above all due to heavy suppression along the northern boundary with Myanmar.
Secretary-General of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Niyom Termsrisuk said on Monday the Thai military and its Lao counterpart are collaborating to prevent drug syndicates trafficking through the northeastern borders into Thailand.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces have formed a working group responsible for combating drug trafficking in Thai provinces bordering Laos. Twelve teams of officers have been set up to coordinate drug investigation and suppression operations, said Mr Niyom.
Anti-drug operations in Thai provinces align with those in Lao
According to Mr Niyom, Thailand is keeping a closer watch on the Thai-Lao border zones due to drug syndicates’ change of smuggling routes. Especially after the Myanmar government began continuously and vigorously cracking down on drug production in its country.
The ONCB chief revealed that more drug smuggling was recently detected along the northeastern borders from Loei to Ubon Ratchathani provinces. Nong Khai, Mukdahan, Bung Kan and Nakhon Phanom are the provinces through which drugs have been smuggled the most.
A majority of the smuggled meth has made its way into the kingdom via; Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani, he said.
Drugs smuggled across the Thai-Lao border include methamphetamine, crystal meth, known as ice, and marijuana, Mr Niyom told the Bangkok Post.
From Oct 2020 — June 2021, 22.19 million pills of meth, 638.5 kilograms of crystal meth and 6,240 kilograms of marijuana were seized by Thai authorities.
Despite the government’s efforts to prevent smuggled drugs, some of them have been sneaked into the inner parts of the country. At the end of May 2020, one million pills of meth were confiscated in Bangkok.
Also a total of 1.1 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine were confiscated in June this year. The drugs were smuggled through Nong Khai and Loei, he said.