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Thai Police Blame Hmong Minority Group for Source of Methamphetamine’s

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CHIANG RAI – National Police Chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda told a press conference that Police and Military personnel arrested three men suspected to be responsible for the smuggling of a huge cache of methamphetamine’s and Ice across the Mekong river to Chiang Rai border.

The three suspects were apprehended at Ban Thaicharoen in Wieng Ken district of Chiang Rai, near the place where a pickup truck with huge cache of drugs in its open cargo area was seized.

Authorities said the three were suspected to have smuggled the drugs from Myanmar using boat. But they denied the charge.

Authorities said the drugs belonged to Wa Nua and Muser hill-tribe minority groups, citing the “999” and “y1” trade marks on the packages.

General Chakthip Chaijinda said the drugs were produced in Myanmar but smuggled by the Hmong minority group to Thailand using Laotian border to cross the river instead to avoid road security checks.

The drug cache which comprises 9.4 million meth pills and 788 kilograms of Ice or crystal meths was meant to be distributed to agents for sale in the central provinces during the Songkran festival. The drug was estimated to be 1.7 billion baht on street.

Chakthip said Thai authorities were continuously cracking down on drug trafficking and had received cooperation from neighboring countries, including Myanmar and Laos. He said gangs usually moved drugs from the North and Northeast through the Central region during Thai holidays.

Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) commissioner Pol Lt-General Sommai Kongwisaisuk said many cases saw illicit drugs smuggled from a neighboring country such as Laos.

He said a single “yaba” (methamphetamine) pill worth Bt1 in a neighbouring country could fetch Bt200 in Thailand, and Bt500 in a third country. One kilogram of “ice” worth Bt1 million could fetch 1,000 times that price in a third country, he claimed.

Gen. Sommai said Thailand is being used as a hub for Drug Manufacturers for further distribution to other countries such as Australia and South Korea.

Source: The Nation, Thai PBS