Bangkok bust nets over 5kg of cocaine at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thai authorities successfully dismantled an international drug trafficking operation at Suvarnabhumi Airport, seizing a substantial haul of cocaine destined for the country’s entertainment venues.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), along with the Customs Department, announced the capture of three foreign nationals and the interception of 5,360 grams of cocaine, cleverly concealed within clothes drying racks and sent from the United States.

The significant drug bust took place at Suvarnabhumi Airport, where the cocaine was discovered hidden in five separate shipments. This successful operation stemmed from the meticulous work of the Customs Department’s Airport Interdiction Task Force (AITF), which initially detected the narcotics on March 6.

The discovery was part of a broader crackdown on drug trafficking in entertainment areas frequented by both Thai and international tourists.

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In the preceding month, the ONCB and its partners launched Operation Nana Udom, focusing on the Nana area of Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok. The operation unveiled that West African groups were actively distributing drugs and involved in other criminal activities, including prostitution. Prostitutes were reportedly offered a share of the drug sale proceeds as an incentive to sell narcotics to their clients.

Following the airport seizure, ONCB officials, under the direction of the ONCB Director, intensified surveillance of the West African networks. Their efforts led to the arrest of the three men who arrived to collect the parcels containing the cocaine. Further searches in their Bangkok accommodation revealed additional drug packaging materials and digital scales.

Drugs in Thailand

Investigators believe this network has been smuggling drugs into Thailand since 2020, linked to four other cases resulting in the arrest of eight individuals, including seven foreign nationals and one Thai woman, and the seizure of 12.7 kilogrammes of cocaine and 6,613 ecstasy pills. The majority of drug seizures under the AITF and Seaport Interdiction Task Force (SITF) in 2022 were associated with West African networks, with cocaine predominantly sourced from South America.

In 2022, authorities handled 26 cases involving 32 suspects and confiscated 59.215 grams of cocaine, 15.157 grams of methamphetamine, and 4.054 grams of heroin, with West African networks implicated in 13 cases. In 2023, the numbers increased to 41 cases with 49 suspects, resulting in the seizure of substantial quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, ecstasy, and a small number of methamphetamine pills, with West African networks being responsible for 20 cases.

The ONCB has reiterated its commitment to combating drug trafficking and has called for continued vigilance against these sophisticated international networks. This operation showcases the effective collaboration between Thai law enforcement agencies and their determination to keep illicit drugs off the streets.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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