CHIANG MAI – A 12-member patrol from the Pha Muang Force, Army Rangers killed six drug couriers and recovered 10 pack-sacks containing methamphetamine and heroin in a clash with traffickers near the border in Mae Ai district shortly before dawn on Thursday.
Maj Gen Jiradetch Kamolpetch, commander of the Pha Muang Force said the Rangers came upon 15 to 20 drug runners in a forested area near Ban Egor-arbae village around 5 am. Upon spotting the Army Rangers the suspects opened fire on the Rangers in a firefight that lasted about 15 minutes.
None of the Army Rangers were injured in the firefight.
After the firefight ended Army Rangers found 6 dead drug runners an AK-47 assault rifle and 10 pack-sacks of methamphetamine pills and 15 Kg of heroin and 1kg of raw opium.
Maj Gen Jiradetch Kamolpetch told the Bangkok Post reporter he believed some of the fleeing smugglers had also been wounded as they found blood along a trail leading deeper into the bush. Additional patrols were deployed to the area to search for them.
Rangers have been patrolling the area since receiving information smugglers planned to bring a caravan of drugs through there to the neighboring district of Mae Chan in Chiang Rai province either late last week or this week.
Meanwhile, Four members of a drug trafficking gang have been arrested and methamphetamine pills and crystal methamphetamine worth about 65 million seized in Muang district of Samut Sakhon on Wednesday night.
Four men in a toyota vigo were detained, a search found 97 packages containing 194,000 methamphetamine pills and 23kg of crystal meth in concealed compartments and beneath the spare tyre well. The drugs had a street value of about 65 million baht.
Police said the drugs had been smuggled from Laos via Mukdahan province and were en route to Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat, on the border with Malaysia.
Police said they would expand the investigation and hoped to arrest other members of the gang.
Photographs taken by Cheewin Sattha at the scene of the Clash