Thailand’s Customs officials at Suvarnabhumi International airport discovered more than 43 kilograms of heroin worth US$3 million concealed in hill-tribe garments bound for Hong Kong.
Mr. Patchara Anultasilp, director-general of the Customs Department, said on Tuesday that the discovery was made on Monday at Suvarnabhumi airport by officials who were suspicious about 29 boxes destined for Hong Kong.
The contents of the boxes were declared to be home appliances, clothing, cosmetics, and hair removal devices.
Initially, officials searched six boxes and discovered hill-tribe style shirts and waist ties. Because the sleeves of the shirts were unusually thick and smelled strongly, officials decided to tear them open.
Officials discovered the fabric contained heroin inside the sleeves and waist ties. Mr Patchara stated that after all of the clothes were examined, the total haul amounted to 43.4kg of heroin worth US$3 million (Bt107.5 million).
Heroin Bound for Hong Kong
On March 2, two Nigerian men and a Thai woman were arrested in Bangkok after 8.5 kilograms of heroin were discovered stuffed into fruit cans bound for Hong Kong.
On Tuesday, officials from the Airport Interdiction Task Force (AITF) and other agencies inspected 11 suspected parcels of canned fruit at a private firm in Bangkok. The parcels were destined for Hong Kong, according to Wichai Chaimongkol, secretary-general of the Narcotics Control Board Office (ONCB).
One of the packages contained 8.5 kilograms of heroin stuffed into fruit cans.
Someone later contacted the company about changing the delivery. The task force requested that person come and collect the parcels. According to Mr Wichai, this resulted in the arrests of Ugorji Jordan Ibeakama, 51, and Joachin Onuabuchi Maduako, 56, on Wednesday.
Sujitra Phuasuwan, 30, was arrested later that day in Bangkok’s Suan Luang district after further investigation.
According to Mr Wichai, the arresting team discovered no illegal drugs on the suspects but took documents from them for examination.
Two cars, 100,000 baht in cash, and a bank account with 60,000 baht on deposit were also seized.
Authorities are looking into whether another Thai woman named as the sender on the parcels was involved in drug smuggling or not.
If she was found to have allowed the suspects to use her ID card to send the parcels, she could face up to three years in prison and/or a 60,000 baht fine under the narcotics code, according to Mr Wichai.
When Narcotics Control Board agents opened fruit cans, they discovered 24 packs of heroin stuffed inside.