Thai Army soldiers have seized nearly two million meth pills from 15 drug smugglers crossing the border into Chiang Rai at Mae Sai. They were on their way into Chiang Rai at a Mae Sai natural border when they were spotted by an army patrol.
According to a Thai Army spokesperson the smugglers dropped their backpacks when the Thai soldiers on patrol called for them to stop. They drug smuggler managed to flee back across the border but left behind 13 backpacks filled with 2 million meth pills.
The Thai army spokesperson said non of the the soldiers were injured as there was no firefight. The meth pills were taken to the police station in Mae Sai. Police and the Thai army said they would continue there patrols along the border.
Chiang Rai on alert for Illegal Migrants
Meanwhile, 3rd Army Area Commander Lieutenant General Aphichet Suesat has instructed all units along the border in Chiang Rai to also be on alert for Myanmar migrants crossing the border illegal.
The increase in COVID-19 cases in Myanmar has prompted Thailand to tighten control over border areas. Above all to prevent illegal entry and control the spread of COVID-19 into northern Thailand.
Lt Gen. Aphichet has instructed all units along the border to be on alert for illegal border crossings by migrant workers. He has ordered the Pha Muang forces to cooperate with relevant agencies in Chiang Rai, where migrant workers often cross the border.
He ordered them to tighten measures in order to intercept migrant workers illegally entering Thailand. Furthermore to patrol their areas of responsibility, erect barbed wire fences and set up checkpoints.
For the border areas along the Mekong River, the Mekong Riverine Unit of Chiang Rai has been instructed to patrol the river. Furthermore to inspect the banks day and night and to set up checkpoints.
Drug Trafficking in the Golden Triangle
Drug trafficking has long been a problem in Chiang Ra’s Golden Triangle. The region where Thailand’s Chiang Rai province meets Myanmar and Laos. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Thai government are working together to tackle the issue.
The border regions between Thailand and its neighbours, along the Mekong River, have experienced a continuous expansion of drug production, trafficking and use, particularly of synthetic drugs, for the better part of a decade.
The number of border checkpoints has been increased in response to COVID-19, reducing the transit of drugs through the province. However, criminal networks have very quickly adapted; traffickers have changed their routes to circumvent Chiang Rai.They now go through other provinces or via Laos and back into Thailand, with marginal increased costs and inconvenience affecting the trade.