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Mukdahan border police seize 480 kilograms of marijuana

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: IHA.com

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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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. 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. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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