CHIANGRAI – An estimated 5 million methamphetamine tablets and approximately 136 kilograms of ya ice worth a combined total of 2 billion baht has been seized in four cases in the past five days, according to Thai Authorities.
In the first case, police were tipped off to a large drug shipment originating from Chiang Mai.
A six-wheel truck driven by Somphot Khiewcha-um, 31, was intercepted on a road in Song district of Phrae Monrday.
Police found 970,000 speed pills in a hidden compartment of the vehicle.
The truck had picked up the drugs from a lychee orchard in Ban Nong Phai in Fang district of Chiang Mai, police said.
Police arrested three suspects _ two people of Chinese Hor ethnicity and a Lisor highlander.
In Chiang Rai, 18 large travel bags containing 2.1 million speed pills and 136kg of ya ice, or crystal meth, were discovered in a roadside bush in Ban Mae Fueng of Mae Chan district Monday, about 3km from the Mae Chan security checkpoint.
The police and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) were alerted to an intelligence report about illicit drugs being delivered to the rest of the country from the border area of the district.
In the third case, 10 people were arrested in connection with trafficking 220,000 methamphetamine pills in Samut Sakhon and surrounding provinces.
The first suspect, Jessada Udom, 38, was arrested in tambon Khok Kham of Muang district on Thursday.
Police later searched his rented apartment and said they found a large quantity of drugs there. Mr Jessada implicated nine other suspects who were later apprehended and turned in more speed pills, police said.
Meanwhile, Anan sae Lee, 29, was apprehended at a petrol station in Mae Chan district of Chiang Rai on Thursday with 1.9 million methamphetamine tablets in his possession, police said.
Police said they were told by informants that Mr Anan planned to deliver the drugs to members of a gang at the station.
The drugs were found in fertilizer bags inside Mr Anan’s pickup truck, police said.
The four cases were announced jointly by the ONCB and the police at the Royal Thai Police Office Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who attended the announcement, said the speed pills were all made by the same producer under a new logo, and it is widely known the drugs are being produced on the other side of the country’s northern border.
Mr Chalerm said the ONCB has reported an increase in demand for illicit drugs in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. He said laws must be toughened to hasten the execution of drug offenders on death row whose appeals have been rejected. Thailand will work with Interpol to go after the leaders of drug gangs who have gone into hiding in other countries, he said.
Narong Rattananukul, ONCB acting secretary, said the influx of drugs from across the border indicated demand for the drugs here was rising.
The crackdown on drug trafficking has led to producers churning out even more drugs to make up for stock confiscated by the authorities, he said.