Police have seized 480 kilograms of, what they say is, “high-grade” marijuana in northeastern Thailand in a routine roadside search. The search was conducted near the border in Nakhon Phanom province. Police say the smugglers were looking for alternate routes now that the roads and traditional border crossings from Myanmar and Laos had been closed.
25 year old Likit Boonprasit was detained by border police after they found 12 fertiliser sacks containing the marijuana that was divided into 480 1 kilogram bricks of compressed marijuana. Likit says he was paid 30,000 baht to deliver the ganja to Bangkok but says he wasnt sure of the exact location as he was being directed by phone as he made his way to the capital.
Likit says the marijuana was smuggled across the Mekong river in long-tail boats from Laos, an operation path that is clearly popular with international smugglers. Just last month, police seized 556,000 methamphetamine pills and 138 kilograms of compressed marijuana in the same district, where, again, a pickup was stopped on the road near the Mekong river. Similar to the most recent bust, the marijuana and meth pills were in fertiliser sacks.
Police say the meth pills were on their way to Myanmar from Laos, where they were smuggled by a long-tail boat across the Mekong river. Such a detour into northeastern Thailand, police speculate, is necessary for smuggling operations as the border areas between Myanmar and northern Thailand have been sealed as part of Thailand’s wider border closures.
However, such operations that include a detour to Thailand have proven to be risky as more than 3 tonnes of marijuana have been seized in the last month alone.
Thailand legalised medical marijuana last year, with the hopes of allowing farming of the plant to boost the economy. It is the first country in SE Asia to legalise the drug and has consistently made quick adjustments to laws and jurisdiction to stay ahead of the blossoming medical marijuana business in the ASEAN.
SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times