Southeast Asia‘s synthetic drugs trade is booming with Thai police seizing over one tonne of crystal meth (“Ice”) in just one week.
The crystal meth was produced in neighbouring countries and smuggled into Thailand’s north and northeastern borders said police.
The meth was headed for southern Thailand for onward shipment to other countries.
Pol. Gen. Chinnaphat Sarasin, director of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, said the huge amount of seized meth came from busting three separate drug syndicates.
On January 16, 2023, police stopped a vehicle at a PT gas station in Phattalung province. The driver, 27 year old Arkhom Suthipho, admitted that there was meth hidden inside agricultural products inside the car.
Police stopped two more cars carrying meth in Surat Thani province and arrested two more suspects, 32 year old Mam Muenbamrung and 35 year old Chayada Muenbamrung.
Police seized 688 kilogrammes of Ice from Arkhom, Mam, and Chayada.
Then, police arrested four more suspects in connection with the gang in Bangkok and Samut Sakhon, confiscating a further 43 kilogrammes of meth and 100 Yaba pills.
On January 19, 2023, police arrested 25 year old Taweechai Saeya in a Big C carpark in Chiang Rai province.
In his Mazda pickup truck police found 300 kilogrammes of Ice disguised as green tea.
The suspect told police the meth was headed for Satun province in southern Thailand for onward shipment.
Police arrested 43 year old Phakor (surname withheld) at a checkpoint in Nakhon Sawan province and 35 year old Kanokthat (surname withheld) at Talat Thai market in Pathum Thani province.
A total of 114 kilogrammes of Ice, packed in Chinese coffee packets, were seized from the two suspects.
Kanokthat told police that he was hired to transport the drugs and had done this around 10 times before. Every time, he received a wage between 2,000 – 5,000 baht.
The drug trade in the Golden Triangle has surged since the Tatmadaw took power over Myanmar through a military coup in February 2021.
A number of deadly clashes between Thai police and drug traffickers have broken out in border regions in recent weeks.
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