KHON KAEN – Police seized 530 kilogrammes of compressed marijuana with a street value of 7 million baht after chasing a pickup truck in Nam Phong district in the early hours of Saturday.
Pol Col Apichart Phochan, commander of the Khon Kaen Highway Police said were tipped-off that a gang was planning to smuggle marijuana from Bung Kan province to Bangkok and set up a checkpoint in Nam Phong district.
Officers waved over a pickup truck with a tarpaulin covering its bed for a search at around 2am, but the driver sped past, prompting police to give chase. Officers along the route were alerted by radio to block the pickup, which was later found abandoned 10 kilometres from the checkpoint.
When officers pulled back the tarpaulin on the pick-yp they found 15 black plastic bags containing 530 packages of compressed marijuana.
The trucks registration record showed that the vehicle belonged to a 47-year-old man from Kalasin. Pol Col Apichart said if he is found to have been involved, he would face charges of having illicit drugs in his possession with intent to sell.
Meanwhile, Four suspects of a drug smuggling gang have been arrested separately and over half a million speed pills destined for an agent in Nakon Sawan Province.
Pairot Mahanin, 28, of Chiang Mai’s Muang district, was apprehended at a resort in Muang district of Nakhon Sawan at 6.30pm on Friday after 279 bundles of 558,000 methamphetamine tablets were found hidden in secret compartments of his van, said Pol Maj Gen Thanai Apichartsenee, a commander at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
Shortly after, three other suspects — Thatsanai Damrongcheewin, 23; Suchart Damrongcheewin, 24, both of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district; and Thongchai Kantha, 29, of Chiang Mai’s Wiang Haeng district — were caught at a police checkpoint in Phayahu Khiri district of this lower northern province.
The arrests followed an investigation which found Mr Pairot and Mr Thatsanai had travelled on the van with a Bangkok licence plate across the border to Myanmar’s Tachilek town via Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district on Thursday. They later crossed the border back to Thailand using the same route on Friday.
Mr Pairot then drove the van from Mae Sai along Highway No.1 on Phahon Yothin Road to head for Bang Yai district in Nonthaburi. The three other suspects followed him in a car with a Bangkok licence plate, said Pol Maj Gen Thanai.
The first suspect later checked in the resort in Nakhon Sawan, where he was later caught and the drugs allegedly seized.
All suspects reportedly confessed to having been hired by a man identified only as Mr Rung to deliver the drugs to an agent in Bang Yai district. They allegedly claimed to have made nine deliveries to agents in Bangkok and Phitsanulok before being caught.