CHIANG RAI – Six suspected drug runners have been shot dead during a firefight with Thai Narcotics Suppression forces who seized illegal amphetamines at the scene, police officials said Saturday.
The clash occurred late Friday evening near Tham Luang Caves in Wiang Phang Kham sub-district of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, a locally known shortcut two kilometers from the Thai-Myanmar border. Also part of the Golden Triangle region.
Six members of the group were shot dead at the scene and the police were tracking down four other escaped suspects. Some 840,000 methamphetamine pills and other weapons were confiscated in the raid.
The drug suspects were believed to be a part of Lt Col Yi Se’s drug trafficking network, Colonel Nattawut Yuwan, commander of the Mae Sai police said.
“We suspect they were hill-tribes people,” he said, adding the suspects had been traveling by foot and the clash happened quite close to the border with Myanmar.
There were no reports of any casualties among security forces.
Thailand has seen a marked increase in seizures of methamphetamine — which is relatively cheap and easy to make — often smuggled from neighboring Myanmar where armed rebels use profits from narcotics to fund their operations.