CHIANG RAI – Chiang Rai Paramilitary Rangers have shot and killed 5 drug traffickers in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fa Luang district early Saturday morning.
The Rangers Commander stated that after receiving a tip that a large amount of illegal drugs would be smuggled over the border, Maj Sumit Saenduangdee led a ranger unit to observe the area around Ban Arleh in tambon Mae Salong Nok on Friday night.
About about 2am, the rangers spotted 12 men walking up a hill toward a nearby village. They quietly surround the armed men and then demanded to search their bags.
The drug traffickers opened fire on the rangers who returned fire. The trafficker’s quickly retreated to a nearby forest where a bomb planted by the rangers exploded. A subsequent gun battle lasted about 20 minutes.
Around dawn the Paramilitary Rangers inspected the scene and found five bodies killed by bullets and shrapnel. They also seized three assault rifles, 1.2 million baht in cash and 600,000 methamphetamine pills inside the bags.
Methamphetamine or yaba is sold on the street for between 200 and 300 baht per tablet, giving the haul a value of up to 180 million baht.
The rangers also found a blood trail left by the injured traffickers who managed to escape. A manhunt was continuing on Saturday.