CHIANG RAI – Pol Col Itthipon Chansribut, superintendent of Narcotics Suppression Bureau’s Division 3 told a press briefing that police seized 900,000 speed pills and 3kg of crystal methamphetamine and arrested two drug smugglers, one of whom was shot and wounded in a brief gunfire, in Muang Chiang Rai early Saturday.
Pol Col Itthipon Chansribut, said Police were dispatched to a forest area at Ban Tham Patong village in tambon Thasud in Muang district of Chiang Rai at around 12.10am. Following a tip-off that a drug gang would smuggle illegal drugs along this route.
Upon arrival officers spotted a black BMW and a sedan at Kriang Suwan hotel in tambon Thasud.
Two men later got out of their vehicle and carried fertilizer sacks from the vehicle to a room. Police surrounded the area and then approached the men’s room and order a search.
The driver Wallop Ruansri, 45, of Kamphaeng Phet province, pulled out a gun and shot at the police officers before trying to escape by jumping over a near by barbed-wire fence, but was shot and fell down.
The other suspect, Charnrit Suwannabol, of Sukhothai, also tried to flee by jumping over the same fence but hit the barbed wire and fell.
The two men were apprehended and Mr Wallop, who sustained a gunshot wound to his hip, was sent to a hospital.
The officers found eight sacks and three bags inside the car and the room. The sacks contained 900,000 speed pills and the bags contained 3kg of crystal methamphetamine.
During the interrogation, Mr Charnrit told police that Mr Wallop had persuaded him to smuggle the drugs from a border area at Ban Tham Phatong village to inner areas.
Mr Wallop went to the hotel to pick up his wife and their eight-month-old baby. He allegedly wanted them to accompany him to portray himself as a family man taking his family on holidays when stopped by officers manning checkpoints, according to his accomplice, who said he used the trick several times before.
Mr Chanrit was held in police custody for legal action and so will Mr Wallop after being treated for his gunshot wound, police said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has confirmed that no officials are involved in drug smuggling or trading.
Asserting the government’s commitment to eradicating illicit drugs in Thailand, the deputy premier in charge of public security said related agencies are cracking down on drug related activities across the nation, and have apprehended a large number of dealers and smugglers in recent months.
In response to an observation that there have been more reported drug busts in recent months, Gen Prawit said manufacturers are making more while some drugs are still smuggled in over the border.
He then confirmed that no state authorities are complicit in drug activities as had been rumored.