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Huge kratom bust in Thalang

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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THALANG: Police seized about 2,000 kilograms of kratom leaves and cut down kratom trees up to 15 meters tall at a house in Thalang last Thursday.

In what is believed to be the biggest kratom bust in the district, officers raided the house in Tambon Sri Soontorn after obtaining a search warrant, applied for after an investigation led to a tip-off.

Lt Col Kritthana Poothiluecha of Thalang Police Station told the Gazette that the home belonged to motorcycle taxi driver Jin Meechai.

In the back yard of the home, located behind Wat Tha Rua, police found 12 kratom trees ranging in height from 10 to 15 meters.

“Jin confessed to selling kratom to construction workers so they could work harder. He planted the trees and started selling it years ago. Police found them and cut them down,”Col Kritthana said.

“I think this is the biggest kratom bust we’ve ever had. However, we are following his connections to investigate whether we can make more arrests,” he added.

Native to Thailand, kratom leaves act as a stimulant when ingested. Although long used by manual laborers in Thailand, the local leaf recently has been gaining favor with wayward youngsters.

However, instead of smoking the dried leaf, younger users, especially in the South, prefer to drink a mix of kratom broth with their favorite soda pop or for a more dramatic effect inhale fumes from a boiling kratom broth mixed with domestic cleaner.

Jin, 53, was charged with possession and sale of kratom, listed along with marijuana as a Category 5 narcotic under the Narcotics Act of 1979.

Jin is being held at Thalang Police Station, pending bail.

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