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Thailand and Laos Governments Target Drug Syndicates at Borders

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Drug Syndicates, Thailand, 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 would align with those in Lao provinces, said Mr Niyom.

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.

Thailand’s golden triangle still reigns supreme

Seizures of heroin from the Golden Triangle, one of the world’s largest production areas along the Myanmar-Laos-Thai border, have been rising every year, according to Narcotics Control Board.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which says the Golden Triangle remains the world’s largest heroin producing zone. Where the drug is smuggled into Thailand through porous borders before being distributed domestically and globally.

According to the ONCB’s anti-drug operation centre, 376 kilograms of heroin was confiscated in the fiscal year 2017. However that number jumped to 941 kilograms in 2019.

Drug producers use China, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand as a base to transport shipments to other countries. The drugs are sold along the way which has caused a rise in Heroin use in Thailand.

Based on the latest World Drug Report released by the organization, an estimated 269 million people used drugs in 2018, up from 30 percent, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders. The report also stated that cannabis was the most used substance in 2018. With about 192 million users around the world. Whereas opioids are the most harmful, as the number of deaths due to opioid-related disorders went up 71 percent over the last 10 years.