DrugsNorth East

Police seize 2.5 billion baht in Mekong drug raids

Police seized almost 2.5 billion baht worth of assets after raids across eight provinces in northeast Thailand.

The Narcotics Control Agency piloted the arrest of the Mekong Spirit Network, a large drug trafficking group. Deputy national police chief Chinnaphat Sarasin said drug squad officers raided 30 locations across eight provinces.

During the raids, they seized 2.5 billion baht (US$70 million) in assets, most of which were in land titles. However, the full list of swag included 16 tractors and trailers, six houses, shares in two logistics companies, 17 plots of land, and a lumber plant.

The raids followed the arrest of Wattana Sriwilai, who was caught with two million meth pills at a checkpoint in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Sikhiu district on June 14, leading to the arrest of Rawiwan Wannafak on Nov 30 in Sakon Nakhon, and Chakkraphong Khamchana in Nonthaburi.

Wattana Sriwilai was caught loading the pills into a truck. He told the police that he had been given 100,000 baht by a Lao man to drive the truck from Khon Kaen to Saraburi province.

Police are still looking for Montri Laphom, a teacher in the Song Dao district of Sakon Nakhon, believed to have fled overseas.

Investigators found evidence that logistics firms, T.K.2019 Transport and SRP 2021, were fronts for the drug ring, concealing meth trafficking within general cargo transportation between Thailand and Laos.

Less than a week ago, Fifteen drug smugglers were killed in a gunfight in Chiang Mai when soldiers engaged a group of about 20 men trudging through a border forest. The shooting continued for about ten minutes. At dawn, soldiers found 15 dead smugglers and 29 bags of crystal meth.

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