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Mukdahan border police seize 480 kilograms of marijuana

Jack Burton

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Mukdahan border police seize 480 kilograms of marijuana | The Thaiger
PHOTO: IHA.com
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In a third major seizure in a matter of days, border patrol police seized 480 kilograms of compressed marijuana on the banks of the Mekong River in the northeastern province of Mukdahan. Authorities estimate the street value of the marijuana to be at least 10 million baht. A village head and 2 other accomplices were arrested, police told a media briefing yesterday.

The men were moving the marijuana via the Mekong to a storage location when officers spotted them. The village headman, identified only as “Phuthorn,” claimed this was the first time he’d been involved in the drug trade, but authorities were unconvinced. Police and soldiers later searched the suspect’s houses and seized three vehicles.

The arrests follow an investigation that showed the suspects had been close to a drug trafficking syndicate. The gang had bought marijuana in Laos then transported it across the Mekong River, keeping it in storage before distributing it further downcountry. Authorities are expanding the investigation, according to Bangkok Post.

Last Friday, police in Bangkok’s Nongjok district confiscated bricks of dried marijuana weighing 221 kilograms. And earlier this month, Police busted an online marijuana syndicate and grow operations arresting 1 Chinese citizen and 11 Thai nationals.

The 12 men were arrested in various raids throughout Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya.

Police say the arrests followed an investigation into reports that tourists purchased marijuana online. The marijuana had been advertised on a Line Chat group called “Heaven Herb,” which had about 6,000 members.

In the first raid police arrested a 27 year old man identified only as “Bank,” and 8 associates. They also seized 3 kilograms of dried marijuana and a kilogram of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms, at a car care shop in Bangkok.

In the second operation, 24 year old “Diew” was apprehended with 1.5 kilograms of dried marijuana in Pathum Thani province, just north of Bangkok. Officers later arrested 29 year old “Boss” with 2 kilograms of dried marijuana in the Sam Saen area of Bangkok.

During interrogation, Diew allegedly said he’d bought marijuana from a Chinese national. This led to the arrest of a man calling himself “Yinma” and the seizure of 317 marijuana plants. The plants were found on the second and third floor of a commercial building. Yinma told police he had grown the plants inside the building and dried them for sale. He said he could produce 10 kilograms of marijuana a month.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in North East Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and his works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world.

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Crime

12 curfew violators arrested in Pattaya after breaking through a checkpoint – VIDEO

Anukul

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12 curfew violators arrested in Pattaya after breaking through a checkpoint – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: thepattayanews.com

12 curfew breakers were arrested in Pattaya City last night just before midnight after a black Hyundai van vehicle broke through a police curfew checkpoint. Reports suggest that the black Hyundai van ran through the checkpoint, causing Banglamung and Pattaya officers to give chase before eventually catching the suspects at an intersection in North Pattaya.

4 Thai nationals, all under the age of 20, were found inside the vehicle, claiming that they broke through the police checkpoint, as they panicked.

The group claimed that one of the arresting officers had allegedly injured 1 of the teenagers and had to be taken to a local hospital. Therefor 3 of them were taken to a police station for further processing while the other individual was taken to a hospital for an evaluation. Officers then discovered that 8 friends were at a rented villa in a private housing estate on Sukhumvit Road.

Police raided the villa as parties and gatherings are in violation of the current strict Emergency Decree. In total, 12 young Thai nationals were arrested during the event, 8 at the house party and 4 from the earlier vehicle incident. All the teenagers face at a minimum of 2 years imprisonment and up to a 100,000 baht fine for violating the emergency decree.

According the police officers, some of the suspects have allegedly admitted that they had taken Ketamine drugs before the arrest.

All 12 suspects were tested for drugs and will be facing further legal action and charges in addition to the violation of emergency decree rules, according to Banglamung Police.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

Cross-border drug trafficking is a “leading concern”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cross-border drug trafficking is a “leading concern” | The Thaiger
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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Crime

Gang raids virus screening checkpoint and empties community pantry

Caitlin Ashworth

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Gang raids virus screening checkpoint and empties community pantry | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

A coronavirus screening checkpoint in Northern Thailand has been ransacked yesterday morning. Police say around 3 men cleaned out and knocked over the community pantry, which was stationed at the checkpoint, and destroyed some of the plastic chairs.

Around 1 am, the group stormed the checkpoint, a tent step-up used to check people travelling in and out of the village in the Tak province. Temperatures of the passersby are checked as well as signs of other virus symptoms. The Bangkok Post said a few people were staffing the checkpoint during the raid, but they were not hurt.

According to police, the men smashed tables and chairs, and damaged some medical equipment. There was also a community pantry set up at the checkpoint to provide those in need with dry groceries. That was emptied and knocked over.

The men could face charges for destroying government property as well as violating the 11pm to 4am curfew.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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