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Bhutanese Woman Nabbed at Suvarnabhumi Airport for Smuggling 4.9kg of Ketamine



4.9kg of ketamine, also known as K, with street value worth Bt15 million


BANGKOK – Thai customs authorities nabbed a Bhutanese woman for smuggling 4.9kg of ketamine, also known as K, with street value worth Bt15 million, into the kingdom at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Customs Department acting director general Yuthana Yimkaroon said officers found the illegal drugs in the luggage of 26-year-old Bhutanese woman, identified as Zhimo.

The detainee confessed that she was hired by an Indian man to smuggle ketamine into Thailand and was to be paid Bt20,000 once another Indian came to pick up the drugs.

The Bhutanese suspect said she has travelled to Thailand five times with a tourist visa.

Initially she will be charged with smuggling illegal drugs into the kingdom and possessing drugs for sale and distribution.

Mr Yuthana said most drug smugglers were Indians but they have turned to hire Bhutanese to do the job following a serious crackdown by Thai authorities who keep close watch on Indians.

Since October 2012 until present, Mr Yuthana said the customs department has made arrests in 298 drug-related cases, with the drugs having total street value of Bt483.5 million.


Street Names

  • special K
  • K
  • vitamin K
  • cat tranquillizers

Ketamine is used as a fast-acting anaesthetic. It is a dissociative drug. This means that it makes a person feel detached, and distorts their perception of sight and sound. Ketamine comes in a powder form or in a clear liquid. There are several ways of administering ketamine to the body. The drug can be snorted, smoked with tobacco or marijuana, mixed into drinks or injected. Ketamine affects the brain by acting on the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is involved in memory learning and perception of pain. As well, it acts on the neurotransmitter dopamine, which may cause the effects that it has on mood.

Origin and medical usage
Ketamine was developed in 1963, and is used in both veterinary and human medicine. It is created by pharmaceutical companies in laboratories. The illicit sales of ketamine mostly come from diverting the drug from pharmacies. It is still used today in both areas of medicine, where it acts an anaesthetic, painkiller and sedative.

Short-term effects
The short-term effects of ketamine use include, but are not limited to, numbness, loss of co-ordination, loss of consciousness, drowsiness, respiratory problems, increase in blood pressure and heart rate, decrease in memory, impaired attention, decrease in learning ability, hallucinations, feelings of detachment, experiencing a dreamlike state, aggressive behaviour and slurred speech.

Long-term effects
Unfortunately, due to lack of research, the long-term effects of non-medical use of ketamine are unknown.

Perceived Benefits of Misuse/Abuse

  • Relaxation
  • Decrease in sensation of pain
  • decrease in anxiety
  • feelings of detachment


When people stop taking ketamine, they may experience a high degree of depression or anxiety, as well as a craving for the drug. This is a result of ketamine’s effects on the neurotransmitters in the brain.

Legal status
Ketamine is legally available to both doctors and veterinarians. Buying, selling, possessing, using and stealing ketamine for recreational use are criminal offences.

Signs that a person might be using
Signs that a person you know may be using ketamine include, but are not limited to, forgetting what he or she did or said recently, short attention span, confusion, loss of co-ordination, mood swings, and dizziness and fainting.

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