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Krabi police seize 9 cars, M16 as meth ring crumbles

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PHUKET: Police believe they have broken a major local drug network with the arrests of 13 suspects and the seizure of more than 6 million baht in drugs in Krabi province, across Phang Nga Bay from Phuket.

During the raids, police also seized more than 5mn baht in assets, including nine cars and five firearms, Krabi Provincial Police Commander Nantadech Yoinuan said on Friday.

Among the weapons seized was an M16 assault rifle, he added.

The breakthrough came last Wednesday when police arrested Nantapol “Jen” Chuaibumroong in Saithong, Chaiburi District, in Surat Thani Province.

Mr Nantapol was found with eight ya bah (methamphetamine) pills, 900 milligrams of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) and an M16 rifle, Maj Gen Nantadech explained.

However, after questioning Mr Nantapol, police were able to arrest 12 more people at several undisclosed locations throughout Khao Phanom District in Krabi Province.

Although Khao Phanom is not in the more popular coastal holiday resort areas on the Krabi coast, the area is well known to tourists for its Khao Phanom Bencha National Park and the protected forests surrounding Phanom Bencha mountain, which stands 1,397 meters above sea level.

Arrested in the raids throughout the district were Wirachai Changsalak, 41; Jantanee Chuawan, 25; Sumet “Chui” Lekmak, 34; Sinchai “Chai” Somduang, 45; Panatda “Fang” Lilaburanapong, 24; Surasak ‘Kiaw’ Keawlok, 25; Thammasak “Khui” Thongboonchoo, 26; Jarun “Jon” Lukwai, 30; Jariya “Jasor” Lamun, 43; and Aumnart Kingchum, 31.

“Wirachai alone was found in possession of more than 14,000 ya bah tablets,” said Gen Nantadech.

In total, police seized 18,709 ya bah pills and more than 100 grams of ya ice, he added.

The weapons confiscated comprised two shotguns, a 9mm handgun and a .38 pistol as well as 100 rounds of ammunition, he added.

“All 10 suspects are local Krabi residents,” Gen Nantadech pointed out.

“Two other suspects arrested in the raids were Yottikrai ‘Moo’ Kitphadung, 41, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and Kanyawee ‘Hai’ Gumnerdsung, 40, from Chiang Rai,” he added.

All 13 suspects were charged with possession of a Category One drug with intent to distribute, and those caught with guns were charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, Gen Nantadech added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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