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Cross-border drug trafficking is a “leading concern”

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Thousands of people have been arrested since October for drug trafficking in Northeast Thailand. Methamphetamine and cannabis cross the Laos and Cambodia borders into Thailand and make their way down to Bangkok other parts of Thailand. According to Bangkok Post, the issue has now become a leading concern for Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin.

18,360 people were arrested from 17,685 cases between October 2019 and March 2020, the Post reports. Many of the cases were made in Ubon Ratchathani, a north eastern province near the Laos and Cambodia borders.

While methamphetamine and marijuana come over land borders, ecstasy is typically flown in from European countries, most from the Netherlands. From October 2019 to March 2020, the Airport Indiction Task Force, or AITF, seized a total of 105,382 ecstasy pills. 2019 was reportedly Thailand’s worst year when it came to the importation of illegal ecstasy.

It’s safe to say the border closures have probably lowered the amount of illegal drugs smuggled in. Thepsutin says drug smugglers at the Laos and Cambodia borders are trying different ways to get around the border closures. Some transfer money first and then pick up the drugs later, in a so far undisclosed manner.

Back in March, the government sent out three patrol boats t0 Laos and Myanmar to tackle the blossoming drug trade around the Golden Triangle. The region borders northern Thailand, the Shan state in northern Myanmar and parts of Laos. Methamphetamine and heroin are illegally shipped into Thailand on the Mekong River.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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