LAMPANG ― Police on Thursday seized about one million methamphetamine pills, or yaba, and arrested three suspects in Sop Prap district after a brief car chase and shootout. Sop Prap police station chief Somchart Paopanij said two men and one woman were apprehended.
He identified the men as Pakkarachai Plengsriwattana, 32, Narong Kullapaechapak, 30, and the woman as Karnchana Bootthanes, 25.
An officer at the community police office at Moo 3 village in tambon Samai alerted his colleagues at Sop Prap police station that two pickup trucks suspected of carrying illegal items were going their way at high speed on the outbound lane of Phahon Yothin Road (Lampang-Tak). He asked them to stop and search the vehicles.
The first truck carrying Mr Narong and Ms Karnchana was followed by another truck driven by Mr Pakkarachai. The two suspects in the first truck were screened at a police checkpoint and alerted Mr Pakkarachai who was travelling with 998,000 speed pills in his truck, Pol Col Somchart said.
Mr Pakkarachai detected the police moving towards him and decided to turn around and drive on the inbound lane to avoid Sop Prap police.
However, he encountered another checkpoint set up by the community police office which had spotted him again. The road was blocked by police patrol vehicles. Mr Pakkarachai steered his truck onto the side of the road and around the vehicles and sped away, causing a high-speed chase.
Police shot at the truck’s front and rear right tyres, causing the vehicle to spin out of control and slam into a power pole. The crash left the driver in a critical condition.
Police discovered five fertiliser sacks containing bundles of drugs hidden in milk cartons.
The other suspects were arrested at the Sop Prap police checkpoint.
Further investigation is underway to identify the source of the seized drugs and track down any others involved in the trafficking, Pol Col Somchart added.