The Pha Muang task force in Chiang Rai has detained three drug runners carrying 1.6 million speed pills in Mae Chan district on Friday, one army ranger was wounded.
Maj Gen Narit Thavornwong, commander of the task force said a team of army rangers from the Pha Muang task force spotted a group of drug runners carrying bags in a forest area of Mae Chan District around 7.30pm on Friday.
The Pha Muang task force team signaled to them to stop but the men refused and opened fire on the task force. The army rangers returned fire in a 20 minute firefight. At the end of the firefight one ranger was injured and the armed men fled into the forest.
Army Ranger Sawat Na Chon was shot in the right foot and sent to Mae Chan Hospital.
Five teams of soldiers and police were later brought in as reinforcements to search the area overnight. At around 5.30am on Saturday, officers found three members of the drug caravan hiding in the forest. Sixteen sacks containing 1.6 million speed pills were seized.
The three suspects were taken to the Mae Chan police station for further legal action.
The Pha Muang task force and police on Saturday expanded their search on Saturday. Maj Gen Narit said they believed some other members of the drug runners might have been injured in the earlier clash and could be in hiding.
Meanwhile, two Volunteer army rangers have been killed and another one wounded by the bomb blast and gunfire in Thailand’s deep south. The army rangers were attacked in a mountainous forest area in Narathiwat province Thursday.
The 16-member patrol from the 45th army rangers task force was ambushed near Thawae mountain in Ra-ngae district around 6.50am.
First, a bomb detonated as they moved along a track, then gunmen opened fire, using military rifles. The patrol members fired back and the attackers withdrew.
Two ranger volunteers were killed and one wounded in the clash, said Col Kriattisak Neewong, spokesman of the Region 4 Forward Command of the Internal Security Operations Command,
Bahavee Masuesa was killed during the attack. Sornram Ratcharak sustained a serious wound and died shortly after. Thiwakorn Boon-ason was also wounded, but now out of danger, Col Kriattisak said.
Explosive ordnance disposal officers collected and examined the bomb debris and also found spent cartridge cases and bloodstains believed to have been left by the attackers.
Fourth Army chief Lt Gen Kriangkrai Srirak ordered increased security in the area.
He also expressed his regret at the loss of lives and injuries to the families of the volunteer army rangers.