CHIANG RAI – More than 134 million speed pills and 3,800kg of crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice, have been seized in three northern border provinces over the past 10 months.
Third Army commander Lt Gen Thana Jaruwat, speaking as director of the drug prevention and suppression operations centre in the North, said the volume of illegal drugs being smuggled into the country across the northern border had steadily risen, leading to a large increase in the quantity seized.
From Oct 1, 2015 to July 3, 2016 a total of 68,384,570 methamphetamine pills and 876.56kg of crystal meth had been seized. In the equivalent period from Oct 1, 2016 to July 3 this year the amount of intercepted drugs had increased to 134,399,290 methamphetamine pills and 3,857.35kg of crystal meth, Lt Gen Thana said.
This meant the number of speed pills sized had increased by 66,404,720 tablets, or 77.1%, and the amount of crystal meth by 2,980.79kg, or 340.1 %, Lt Gen Thana told a news conference at Mae Sai customs checkpoint in Chiang Rai.
He said 96.8% of the drugs being smuggled into Thailand came across the border into Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces.
The biggest seizures were in Mae Fa Luang and Mae Sai districts of Chiang Rai, as the two border districts were located near drug production bases.
The number of drug suppliers had also increased and now included Muser and Akha tribal groups who had links with Thai drug traffickers.
Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osodthanakorn said 43.62 million speed pills, 170kg of heroin and 186kg of crystal methamphetamine had been seized in the province this year.
To help cope with the fallout, authorities had strengthened communities and provided rehabilitation treatment for drug addicts. So far, five batches totalling 300 addicts had undergone drug treatment, Mr Narongsak said.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiart Srivorakhan, representatives from the Narcotics Control Board, the military and police and other senior officials were at the media briefing.
By Chinapat Chaimon
The Bangkok Post