A former police officer from northern Thailand has been charged with trafficking over 170kg of crystal methamphetamine and is facing a lengthy prison sentence.
Somchai Promchai, a former narcotics suppression police officer, was arrested last Friday by Provincial Police Region 5 officers and local police at the Yaek Pa Mai checkpoint in Lampang’s Mae Phrik police district.
Pol Lt Gen Piya Tawichai, commissioner of PPR 5, said yesterday that the suspect attempted to smuggle 177kg of crystal methamphetamine from Chiang Mai’s Mae Taeng district to Ang Thong.
PPR 5 collaborated with the Narcotics Control Office Region 5 and soldiers from the northern border narcotics control center to examine the seized items, which were estimated to be worth 500 million baht, or three times that amount in international markets.
The suspect has a prior drug crime conviction.
Somchai was a police officer in the drug suppression unit when he was arrested in 2010 with a large number of speed pills in his possession and was fired. He was convicted that year and released the following year.
Given that he has committed the crime again, Pol Lt Gen Piya stated that the PPR5 has asked the court to sentence him to a lengthy prison term. According to Police, the offender admitted to the charges.
Police investigators questioned the suspect and discovered no police officers or state officials involved in the drug trafficking incident.
However, the investigators were broadening their investigation.
Crystal methamphetamine Seized
An army patrol in That Phanom district of Nakhon Phanom in northeastern Thailand seized 21 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine packaged as Chinese tea from the Mekong River’s bank and arrested one suspect.
On Sunday night, a patrol from the Surasak Montree Task Force, led by Capt Thanachote Na Nakhon, waited on the riverbank at Ban Nakham in tambon Nam Ko on information that drugs smuggled across the river from Laos would be delivered there.
Late at night, a man later identified as Mr. Sompit Bamrungwong, 55, a Mukdahan laborer, arrived in a Toyota pickup to retrieve a large bag that had been left on the bank.
He was arrested. The bag held 21 packages of Kwan Yin Wang brand Chinese tea. Each package weighed about 1kg and contained crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice.
Mr. Sompit allegedly admitted to being paid 5,000 baht to deliver crystal meth to a storage facility in Mukdahan. It would then be distributed to the provinces.
Initially, he was charged with drug smuggling. The pickup truck was impounded for inspection.