Soldiers in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district have shot and killed two men after a firefight with a drug caravan. The Pha The Muang military task force also seized 600kg of crystal meth worth at least 300 million baht.
Lt Gen Supachok Thawatpeerachai reported the task force spotted 15-20 men walking through Taen Tai village in Mae Sai at 4.30pm on Friday. Soldiers ordered those men to stop, but they resisted and opened fire on the task force. Gunfire was exchanged which lasted about 20 minutes, leaving 2 men dead.
A total of 20 sacks were found in the area and each contained 600kg of crystal meth, Lt Gen Supachok told Thai media.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Thanadphol Kosaisawee, commander of the Pha Muang task force, said people travel to Chiang Rai for New Years. Drug smugglers also seized this opportunity to smuggle narcotics. Especially from border areas into the inner areas, particularly in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces.
The methamphetamine trade is now worth between $30 billion and $61 billion per year. Meth is being smuggled from Chiang Rai’s Golden Triangle into Australia, New Zealand and other S.E Asia nations.
Consequently meth is being sold at rock-bottom prices. Seizures appear to be doing little to dent the operations of drug traffickers. Crystal meth from the region is also feeding demand as far away as New Zealand.
In 2018, authorities consequently seized a record-breaking 120 tons of crystal and meth pills in the Asia-Pacific region. More than half of those busts took place in Thailand, where authorities confiscated more than 515 million meth pills.
Photos of Drug Seizure in Mae Sai