Police have seized more than 600 million baht worth of illicit drugs in Chiang Rai province and arrested five men they believe are connected to the stash.
A team of drugs police seized 1.79 million speed pills and 40 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, from a rented tour bus at Ban Lor Paha village in Muang district around 11pm on Dec 9, national police chief Priewpan Damapong said yesterday.
The drugs were found hidden in five large travelling bags.
Three men on the bus _Daochai Kanthadong, 49, driver Surasak Makhiew, 34, and Pichet Muenchaiwong, 22, all natives of Chiang Rai_were arrested.
Police extended the investigation to arrest two more suspects in Ayutthaya province on Saturday night.
Kosol Klinsuwan, 47, and Prasit Kuesui, 47, both from Nakhon Si Thammarat province were arrested at a petrol station in Bang Pahan district, where they had been told to receive the drugs from the three suspects.
A Toyota car was seized from the two men.
Police were following a lead that a tour bus was carrying a large quantity of drugs from the Thai-Burmese border and was about to head to Bangkok through Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, Pol Gen Priewpan said.
Police were sent to the area, but the bus driver took another route to avoid arrest.
The officers split into teams and one of them later managed to stop the bus in Muang district of Chiang Rai.
Police say the gang had rented the bus from a company in Chiang Rai to transport the drugs from the northern border to drug networks in Ayutthaya.
The gang had been paid 300,000 baht a trip to deliver the drugs and had made similar deliveries a few times in the past. They allegedly confessed they had received the orders by phone from two men to smuggle the drugs. One of the men lived in a neighbouring country, while the other man was an influential figure in Krabi province in the South. Police are hunting for the two, whom the arrested men claimed were gang leaders.