The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has urged Thailand to clamp down on the trafficking of drug precursors to end the cross-border trade of drugs.
Together with the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the UNODC launched its annual report “Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia: Latest Developments and Challenges 2021” in Bangkok on Thursday.
Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said organised crime groups have been expanding the regional trade of precursor substances, in the Upper Mekong and Shan State of Myanmar.
“While the pandemic has caused the global economy to slow down, criminal syndicates that dominate the region have quickly adapted and capitalised. They have continued to aggressively push supply in a conscious effort to build the market and demand,” he said.
According to the report, methamphetamine seizures in the region last year amounted to 170 tonnes, up 19% on the 142 tonnes seized in 2019. It also said the Northeast had become the new main smuggling route with the drugs entering Thailand from Laos.
“Laos has the biggest border with Thailand … it arcs from Shan state from Myanmar to Cambodia,” he said.
Mr Douglas told the Bangkok Post that although international cooperation on this issue did exist, it was not extensive.
“It is not systematic and the legal systems do not deal with the big figures who are really controlling the drug trafficking. Things are done on a case-by-case basis.
“We’ve come here to accelerate the process. You know, by the time we get cooperation, it would have taken a month. The criminals work much faster than the legal process,” he said.
Inshik Sim, UNODC regional coordinator for the Global SMART programme, added that there has also been a high concentration of supply within the Lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
“If we calculate both East Asia and South East Asia altogether, in this lower Mekong Delta, the seizure of meth accounted for 71% of total seizure in both regions,” he noted. Furthermore, there was an increasing seizure of precursor chemicals in the Northeast border.
Border police seize huge cache of crystal meth
Meanwhile, Border patrol police have seized a massive haul of Crystal meth worth about 135 million baht in southern Thailand’s Songkhla on Tuesday. Police seized 135 135kg of crystal meth and arrested four men.
The arrests and seizure followed information about a delivery of drugs from Chon Buri province to a customer in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat, Pol Col Phahol Ketkaew, deputy chief of Border Patrol Police Region 4, told a media briefing yesterday.
Border patrol police had raided a room at Kaoseng resort in Songkhla on Tuesday afternoon following reports that members of a drug syndicate had checked in.
There was no-one in the room, but border police found several sacks containing 135kg of crystal meth worth about 135 million baht, Pol Col Phahol said.
Border police officers later tracked down four suspects and arrested them in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces. Police also seized two cars and four mobile telephones as evidence.