Officials say Thailand being used as transit hub for ketamine smuggling


The Office of the Narcotics Control Board says Thailand is being used as a transit hub for gangs smuggling ketamine into the Kingdom from Taiwan and China. The drug is then destined for re-export to places like Hong Kong and Malaysia, where it can fetch high retail prices. However, use within Thailand is on the up too, with the ONCB saying it’s becoming more prevalent in areas with a lot of nightlife venues.

This week, 7 Bangkok users died from a new ketamine variant, known as “powdered milk”, due to its appearance. Police have not confirmed what the new variant contains but according to an expert in a Bangkok Post report, it’s primarily made up of ketamine, heroin, ice, and the sleeping pill Rozerem, nicknamed Rosé. It’s also thought to include 3 substances used to execute prisoners, namely, sodium pentothai, pencuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.

The ONCB says drug dealers are providing ketamine at substantial discounts in order to hook customers. They say liquid ketamine is currently being sold for 400 – 500 baht a bottle, with the crystal form selling for between 200 – 500 baht for a small spoon. The drug usually fetches 350,000 – 370,000 baht a kilogram.

Officials believe the drug is being produced in India, China, and Myanmar, with drug enforcement agencies in countries on the Mekong River working together to share knowledge on the trade and smuggling operations. In 2018, Chinese officials confiscated over 5.7 tonnes of ketamine destined for Thailand. The drug was being smuggled through border areas in the northern province of Chiang Mai and the north-eastern provinces of Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Bung Kan.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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