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Border Security Increased as Drug Smuggling Ramps Up in Northern Thailand



Border Security Increased as Drug Smuggling Ramps Up in Northern Thailand
Soldiers Patrol Chiang Rai-Myanmar Border: File Image

Narcotics Suppression officials have reported an estimated seventy million methamphetamine pills may be traversing the frontier, prompting border authorities in northern Thailand to increase security in anticipation of a surge in drug smuggling.

In the preceding half-year, law enforcement agencies have successfully intercepted an estimated 130 million tablets.

A confrontation between a special forces unit and a drug trafficking organization in the Wiang Haeng district of Chiang Mai led to the confiscation of 1.2 million methamphetamine tablets. The fugitives succeeded in evacuating, abandoning six backpacks containing the illicit substances.

Along the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai borders, the Northern Border Command for Interdiction and Suppression of Precursor Chemicals has been actively combating drug trafficking in eleven special control districts.

Officials have conducted thirty anti-drug operations in the preceding half-year, which have yielded the following results: 25 smuggling group casualties, the apprehension of more than 1,500 suspects, and the confiscation of approximately 130 million methamphetamine tablets, 2 tons of crystal meth, commonly referred to as “ice,” and 249 kilograms of heroin.

General Narit Thavornwong, the commander, ascribes the escalation in drug trafficking to the heightened hostilities in Myanmar. Oppressive measures implemented by Myanmar authorities, specifically in the Shan State, a significant center for drug manufacturing, have precipitated an upsurge in the illicit drug trade.

Smuggling organizations are reportedly preparing to deliver at least 70 million methamphetamine pills into Thailand by utilizing a variety of methods, such as impersonating travelers, operating large bicycles, and taking advantage of pregnant women and children in order to avoid detection.

Soldiers in Chiang Rai Seize 14Kg of Heroin After Firefight

Soldiers show 14Kg of Heroin: Image CTN News

Soldiers in northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai Seize 14Kg of Heroin

The Pha Mueang task force clashed with a drug caravan on Doi Mae Salong in Chiang Rai, seizing 200,000 methamphetamine tablets and 14 kilograms of heroin. No soldiers were injured in the firefight.

Col. Kidakorn Chandra, Deputy Commander of the Pha Muang Force, said Rangers patrolled the border area and came across 3-5 suspicious people walking along the terrain through the mountain forest. Each of them carried a backpack. 

The soldiers requested the group to halt, but instead, they opened fire on the soldiers. The clash lasted about 5 minutes before the group retreated into Myanmar.

After the clash, soldiers discovered two sacks, each containing approximately 100,000 tablets, totaling 200,000. They also found two sacks containing approximately 14.40 kilograms of heroin. 

Col. Kidakorn said they would deliver all the seized items to investigators and Mae Fah Luang Police Station.

He said that the interception of this group of drug caravans was a result of soldiers spending up to 3 days on ambush patrol after finding clues that drugs would be transported into Thailand through the Ban Huai Yuak Pa So channel in Mae Salong Nai Subdistrict.

Chiang Rai, famed for its difficult terrain and proximity to the Golden Triangle, has long been a drug smuggling hotspot.

The region’s isolated position and permeable borders make it a perfect transit point for traffickers transporting drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and opium from Myanmar to Thailand and elsewhere.

Criminal networks use Chiang Rai’s deep forests and steep mountain roads to carry drugs across borders using well-known smuggling routes.

Drugs are frequently hidden in trucks, amid genuine commodities, or transported by mules on foot across dangerous terrain. Local corruption and a lack of resources hampered law enforcement efforts to combat these smuggling operations.

The drug trade has exacerbated violence and instability in the region, with different gangs fighting for control of lucrative trafficking routes.

Despite increased security and interdiction operations, the flow of illegal narcotics through Chiang Rai continues, fueled by insatiable worldwide demand and the promise of massive riches for those prepared to take the risk.

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