PHUKET TOWN: Police revealed today that they arrested a woman and two men on January 4 on charges of possession of ya bah with intent to sell. They also seized more than 900 pills of the drug with an estimated street value of around 135,000 baht. Pol Lt Passakorn Sootthikul, of the narcotics division of the Phuket Town Police Station, said police received information that Rassamee ‘Noi’ Kowitangkul, 20, living in Soi Hub Ake, off Phuket Rd, was trafficking in ya bah. Undercover officers were sent to the address to buy some of the drug from Rassamee. They then waited for her to buy the drugs from her supplier. After receiving the drugs, the officers revealed their identity. A subsequent search of Rassamee’s home turned up five more tablets. She confessed that she had bought the tablets from Montien ‘Keng’ Kwanyeun, 18, who rented a house near the Montri Hotel. At Montien’s house, the police found Montien and some marked bank notes that the undercover officers had used to buy the ya bah from Rassamee. Montien in turn confessed that he had bought the drugs from his brother-in-law; Atthapol ‘Boy’ Tongrit, 25. The police told Montien to page Atthapol, asking for 10 more tablets and telling him to bring the drugs to Montien’s house. When Atthapol arrived at Montien’s place, the police arrested him too. They found 900 tablets of ya bah in his pocket. Like the others, he was charged with possession of banned drugs with intent to sell. Lt Passakorn said that announcement of the arrests had been delayed because police had hoped to catch the major players who supplied the drugs to Atthapol. The minimum penalty for drug trafficking is 15 years in jail or a fine of up to 50,000 baht, or both. The maximum penalty is execution. The sentence depends upon the amount of the drugs involved.
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