CHIANG RAI – A gun fight between Pha Muang para-military Force and a group of drug smugglers in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district early yesterday resulted in a haul of about one-million yaba (Methamphetamine) tablets.
A pickup truck police thought was suspicious, with some 12 men on board, was stopped by the officers near a checkpoint on the Kew Satai-Mae Chan Road in Tambon Pa Tueng just after midnight.
The truck reportedly tried to flee and police said the men opened fire at them, leading to a five-minute gunfight.
The encounter occurred about 500 metres from a police checkpoint at Ban Kiew Satai in tambon Pa Tueng of Mae Chan district.
One trafficker, identified as Jala Jalo, 26, a native of Chiang Rai, was wounded in the fight and arrested with a sack containing 120,000 speed pills.
Jala said he and 11 other smugglers, each with a sack of methamphetamine pills, were travelling on a pick-up truck, delivering the drugs to clients in Mae Ai district of Chiang Mai.
Jala, who was trying to flee, was wounded and arrested right after the clash. The other traffickers escaped on the pick-up truck.
Police from Mae Chan district scoured the scene on Wednesday morning and recovered seven green bags with a total of one million speed pills.
A member of the Pha Muang Force said the traffickers were believed to be membrs of a gang led by Lt-Col Yise of the Black Muser tribe.
The gang is known to have been hired to transport all kinds of drugs from Doi Samsao near Muang Yon, a major methamphetamine production base run by the United Wa State Army, or Red Wa, in Myanmar, across the border from Mae Fa Luang and Mae Chan districts of Chiang Rai.
Villages on the Thai side of the border used by the gang for storing the drugs before delivering them to inner parts of the country include Kiew Satai, Ruam Jai, Saen Mai, Jakona, Heko and Loyo, the Pha Muang officer said.