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48 Tonnes of Sodium Cyanide Impounded at a Warehouse in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen District

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CHIANG RAI – The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has impounded 48 tonnes of sodium cyanide, which can be used in the making of crystal meth at a warehouse in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district.

During the raid by Officers from the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of a rented warehouse in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district, caretaker Anusorn Pharino presented a document to the searching team of ONCB officers, police, navy officers and district administrators that the chemicals were stored there to be dispatched to a gold mine in Myanmar.

On Monday, Provincial Police Region 5 chief Pol Lt-General Pulsap Prasertsak and his team would inspect this batch in detail, officers said.

The ONCB said it would also check with Myanmar authorities for confirmation about import of the batch and if it were meant for use in a gold mine as claimed.

A source at the ONCB claimed that although sodium cyanide can be used to extract gold, it could also be synthesized into the narcotic substrate called phenyl-2-propanone to make methamphetamine. The seized 48 tonnes of sodium cyanide could be used to produce 18 tonnes of the substrate – enough to make 1 billion methamphetamine pills.

Monitoring of sodium cyanide was made more stringent after some Burmese factories legally ordered sodium cyanide from a third country but the products were suspiciously transported via Thailand [even though it is a farther entry point], said ONCB secretary-general Sirinya Sidthichai.

Some 15 tonnes of sodium cyanide were seized in the Myanmar border town of Tachileik early this month and the Thai truck driver claimed he was hired to transport the batch – originally ordered from China – to a gold mine in Yangon.

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