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Another Phuket drug bust: more than 6,000 pills seized



PHUKET: Phuket’s governor and top police brass held a press conference at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday to announce the arrest of a four-man drug ring and the seizure of over 6,000 ya bah (methamphetamine) pills.

The arrest was the result of an investigation ordered by Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop and spearheaded by Lt Col Sutthirat Thochampa, who heads the Provincial Narcotics Suppression Unit.

Also present at the conference was Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pekad Tanitpong.

The arrests began at 6:30pm on Thursday, when undercover officers arranged to buy a quantity of ya bah from Korakot “Kla” Mapiyaphan, a 37-year-old resident of Kanchanaburi.

The sale took place in the parking lot of the Phuketa Hotel, on Thepkrasattri Rd near the access road to Phuket Rajabaht University (PKRU) on the outskirts of Phuket Town.

From there, police searched a rented room nearby that Mr Korakot had been staying in for two days.

They uncovered 970 ya bah pills and charged Korakot with sale and possession of a Category 1 narcotic.

Subsequent investigation led to the arrest at 4:30am the next day of three more alleged drug dealers working out of the house at 131/87 Pracha Samakee Road, part of the Srisuchart Grandview residential estate off the bypass road in Rassada.

Police identified the suspects as: 50-year-old Thanasin “Faren” Manajit and Suthat “O” Sermjit, 20, both of Tambon Mai Khao, and 29-year-old Kritsana “Nok” Phromnoi of Kamphaengphet province.

The officers uncovered 5,950 ya ba pills stashed away in three light bulbs in the ceiling of the home. All three men were charged one count of possession of a category 1 drug with intent to sell.

Mr Korakot confessed that he got the pills from a friend in Kanchanaburi, along Thailand’s border with Burma. It was the second time he had smuggled pills onto Phuket; each time carrying a stash of 1,000 pills, he told police.

It was also revealed that Mr Thanasin was a relative of a tambon chief in Mai Khao and was out on bail in a previous drug case.

Despite the seemingly endless procession of drug suspects paraded before the local media these days, Maj Gen Pekad said that the drug situation on the island had not reached a crisis point.

He noted, however, that the number of narcotics cases in Phuket was up considerably, from 300 in June to 470 in July.

The increase was the largest recorded in any province in Police Region 8, which covers Phuket and six other provinces in the South, he said.

He attributed this to the state of the economy, which allows addicts to continue buying the ‘crazy drug’ ya bah.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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