Authorities in northern Thailand seized 5 million speed pills from a warehouse in Chiang Rai, while smugglers abandoned another 6 million speed pills and 29 kilograms of crystal meth during a battle in Chiang Mai.
On Saturday morning, a squad of border patrol officers, paramilitary rangers, and narcotics suppression officers discovered a suspicious pickup truck bypassing road inspections near the border in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fa Luang and Chiang Saen districts.
This encouraged the team to give pursue. The officers discovered the vehicle at a warehouse in Tambon Pha-ngam, Wiang Chai district, around 9 a.m. A check of a storage area turned up 25 sacks carrying 5 million speed pills, according to Lt Gen Narit Thawornwong, commander of the 3rd Corps and chief of a northern border drug suppression team.
Meanwhile, the Pha Muang task force said that 6 million speed tablets and 29kg of crystal meth were recovered during a battle between soldiers from the Chaiyanuparb military unit and drug smugglers in Chiang Mai’s Wiang Haeng area.
The soldiers first saw the smugglers at 4.30 a.m. on Saturday while patrolling a border region in Huai Luek Maeyangkum village. Following the exchange of gunfire, the armed men retreated. There were no injuries among the soldiers.
Troops who searched the area later discovered 33 modified rucksacks with the drugs, according to Lt Gen Narit. Police received the substances at the Wiang Haeng station.
Drug Smuggling in Northern Thailand
The number of drug users has increased, most likely due to repressive socioeconomic conditions. Northern Thailand’s drug status has evolved to the point that it is no longer a producing source.
However, Thailand is a transit point for narcotics smuggling. The most common route for drug smuggling in Northern Thailand is along mountainous roads. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces have the highest drug trafficking rates.
The army has reinforced security along the northern border in response to allegations of increased amounts and varieties of illegal substances entering the nation from Myanmar, which is also claimed to be home to an increase in opium-producing facilities.
Narcotics manufacture is increasingly faster and cheaper, making the product more accessible, particularly through online dark web sales. Twenty-nine districts. Several provinces in the northern and northeastern areas have reported recent drug smuggling activity.
Thirteen districts, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Loei, are considered to have a major narcotic problem, with nine in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, and Phayao classified as having medium-high levels of illicit drug trading.
According to intelligence sources, various ethnic groups were implicated in drug networks, with many substances transported for clients in Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
Since October, the Office of the drugs Control Board (ONCB) has charged 219 drugs cases, arresting 233 people and seizing about 432 million baht in property, he added.
Last year, 362,888,336 pills of methamphetamine, or ya ba, were recovered along the northern border, along with 5,418 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice, and 252kg of heroin, he said.
However, opium cultivation appears to be decreasing marginally as a result of arrests in the region. Since the end of last year, the Army has discovered 121 opium plots in the northern region, totaling over 55 rai.
According to UNODC’s Jeremy Douglas, organised crime trafficking organisations dominate the Asia-Pacific area and play a global influence in the drug trade and other illegal activities. They seek out safe havens where they may conduct business and operate freely.
The Golden Triangle, which borders northern Thailand, is one of the world’s largest drug trafficking corridors. Shan state, Myanmar, is the primary producer of heroin and opium, as well as synthetic narcotics such as methamphetamine, which spread throughout the region and feed the entire Asia Pacific [region], essentially from Japan to New Zealand and everywhere in-between.
There are significant governance challenges in Myanmar, with several fragmented factions governing various territories. Drug production occurs in these sometimes distant places with wide and porous borders; it is extremely easy to smuggle products into and out of Myanmar, posing issues for its neighbours.
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