NAKHON PHANOM – Police have seized almost 495kg of compressed marijuana, worth at least 10 million baht and arrested 4 Lao men on the banks of the Mekong River in Ban Phaeng district late Thursday night.
The four men were presented at a media briefing at Nakhon Phanom provincial police office on Friday, along with 495kg of compressed marijuana and the grenade.
The men confessed they had been hired for 5,000 baht each by a Lao drug trafficker to deliver the marijuana from Laos to a Thai customer. They insisted they did not know the name of the customer, saying there were only couriers, and had carried the grenade to help them escape if they encountered Thai officers.
The bust came after a combined patrol team of navy officers, police and local officials spotted a long-tailed boat crossing the Mekong River to Ban Phon Thong village. About 10 men were then seen carrying sacks of fertiliser from the boat to the river bank.
When officers ordered them to submit to a search, all fled, but four were later apprehended.
Authorities said the seized marijuana had a face value of at least 10 million baht. They said drug smuggling was rampant, with more than one tonne of compressed marijuana seized in this northeastern province this month alone.