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Ex-cop caught smuggling 4.5kg of marijuana into Phuket



PHUKET: Police at Tah Chat Chai checkpoint – the northern tip of the island – yesterday arrested a retired policeman trying to smuggle 4.5 kilograms of marijuana into Phuket.

Also arrested was a man who says he was just getting a ride from Ranong to Phuket with the former officer.

Police stopped Natthawut Nuengklang, 61, at 2pm to conduct a standard inspection of his four-door Toyota Vigo pickup.

The officers found five sealed packs of compressed marijuana inside a “clothing bag” on the floor of the cab, said Sen Sgt Maj Thanom Thongpan.

They also found Mr Natthawut carrying a 9mm handgun, he added.

“He said he got the marijuana from a ‘Mr Yod’ in Phetchaburi [Province] and that he was to deliver it to a Thai man in Phuket. They were to meet somewhere near Patong Beach,” said Sen Sgt Maj Thanom.

Mr Natthawut told police that he was a retired police officer. He retired with the rank of sub-lieutenant and served at Cha-am Police Station in Phetchaburi.

He also claimed to have a license for the handgun, Sen Sgt Maj Thanom added.

As for the passenger, 51-year-old Bancha Sangsawang, Mr Natthawut said he picked him up in Ranong, where Mr Bancha lives.

“Mr Bancha denied any knowledge of the drugs. He said he was in the car only to accompany Mr Natthawut to Phuket.” Sen Sgt Maj Thanom said.

Regardless, both men were transferred to Phuket Provincial Prison this morning to undergo legal processes.

At the time of writing, a court date had yet to be set.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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