CHIANG RAI – The Rangers Task Force 31 has shot and killed a drug courier with 290,000 methamphetamine pills after a clash between a ranger patrol and a group of drug smugglers near the Thai-Myanmar border in Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai province on Saturday night.
Pongsak Wangsamer, the Chiang Rai governor, Pol Maj Gen Wanchai Suwansirikhet, the provincial police chief, Col Vacharapong Kaewchaeng, commander of the Rangers Task Force 31, medics and prosecutors flew in helicopters from the Border Patrol Police Company 327 base in Mae Chan district to the scene for inspection early Sunday morning.
A patrol team from Rangers Company 3109 was dispatched to the area on receiving information from the Pha Muang Force that a band of armed drug smugglers would deliver at least one million methamphetamine pills from the Red Wa ethnic group across the border into Mae Fa Luang district via Mae Chan Luang village.
The Ranger patrol spotted about 20 armed drug runners, carrying a backpack heading towards Mae Chan Luang, and ordered them to stop.
The Drug runners opened fire and lobbed a hand grenade at the rangers, at which they then retreated across the border, leaving behind the dead body of the shot drug runner.
Upon a search of the dead runner the rangers recovered 290,000 methamphetamine pills from his backpack.
Mae Chan Luang village is located on a drug delivery route along the mountain ridge of Chiang Rai on the other side of the border is an area under the influence of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) whose drug production base is located somewhere around Muong Yon.
The drugs produced by the UWSA are usually smuggled across the border into Thailand via Mae Fa Luang and Mae Chan districts of Chiang Rai and Mae Ai district of Chiang Mai.