Thai police bust major drug smuggling operation, seize illegal substances bound for overseas

Photo by The Pattaya News.

Thai police yesterday revealed the quantity of drugs seized since October of last year, which were intended for illicit transportation across borders.

The Airport Interdiction Task Force (AITF) and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) worked together to seize the drugs. Pol. Lt. Gen. Sarayut Sanguanphokai, the commissioner-general of the NSB, announced the results.

The drugs seized since October 2022 included 12 kilograms of crystal meth, 11,823 meth pills, 1.7 kilograms of ketamine, 5.3 kilograms of cocaine, and 4.2 kilograms of heroin. The smugglers hid the drugs in everyday items such as kitchen appliances, snack bags, pillows, speakers, and baking powder bags to avoid detection.

The drugs had been smuggled into Thailand from Johannesburg, South Africa, and Ethiopia, and were destined for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Australia, according to Pol. Lt. Gen. Sarayut.

The successful crackdown was carried out in line with the policies of the national police chief, Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas. The impounded drugs will now be sent for further examination to designated units such as the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Department of Medical Sciences, the Forensic Science Police Office, and the Institute of Legal Medicine.

After that, the drugs will be stored at the Ministry of Public Health to await destruction, The Pattaya News reported.

This news comes less than a week after Thai Customs officials at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport intercepted a drug shipment bound for Hong Kong on March 6. The officials discovered over 43 kilograms of heroin hidden in hill tribe garments. The illicit drugs were estimated to be worth 107.5 million baht.

This recent drug bust is one of many that have occurred at Thai airports over the past few years.

In June last year, four “travellers” were caught smuggling cocaine valued at millions of baht into Phuket and Bangkok. A South African man allegedly smuggled in 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, valued at 4.5 million baht, to Phuket International Airport. Meanwhile, three suspects arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport from Brazil were found with 15.7 kilograms of cocaine, 47 million baht.
The Thai government is optimistic that it can stamp out the illegal use of narcotics after the success of a recent drug programme in the northeastern Nong Bua Lam Phu province.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.