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Police crack Phang Nga drug network linked to “kingpin prisoner’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Police crack Phang Nga drug network linked to “kingpin prisoner’ | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Acting on a tip-off police raided two separate addresses in Phang Nga yesterday resulting in the arrest of six men and the recovery of drugs, weapons, cash and other valuables.

The gang was reportedly controlled by an inmate at Nakhon Sri Thammar at Provincial Prison who ordered drugs to be delivered to one of the suspects netted in the raid.

Takuapa Police Superintendent Tharatcha Thamaphat yesterday morning led 20 police officers to search a house on Kokkian Moo 1, about one kilometer from the Takuapa Bus Station.

“Following reports of people suspiciously coming and going at the house, we decided to investigate. As a result we discovered that it was being used as a drug distribution point for local teenagers,” Col Tharatcha said.

“So as not to alert the house occupants we divided into teams, one to cordon the area and a specialist team to enter the property, as we believed they may have been armed,” he explained.

“In the end we caught them before they were aware of us,” he said.

The operation netted three suspects. Santichai Jantharakkana, 28, and Rassamee Wangsri, 25, both from Kokkian, and Chiaw Sangduangyang, 42, from Bang Sawan, Surat Thani.

“In the house we seized 157 ya bah [methamphetamine] tablets, a quantity of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) and 56,000 baht in cash,” Col Tharatcha said.

“Other evidence seized included a vehicle registration plate for a Nissan March, a motorcycle, various items of jewelry and two bankbooks,” he added.

Asa result of information gained from the scene, a specialist police unit mounted a hasty operation to interdict a drug delivery that was about to happen in the area. That operation ended with three more suspected drug dealers in custody.

Roongrote Pantakua, 30, was arrested in possession of two ya bah pills and Amornthep Saetun, 22, with three packages of dried marijuana, approximately 12 grams in total. Both men are from Tambon Bang NaiSri in Takuapa.

The sixth suspect, Chem Taweewat, 44, from Muang Ranong District, was arrested in possession of a 9mm automatic pistol and 12 rounds of ammunition, said Col Tharatcha.

All six suspects were taken to Takuapa Police Station for further questioning where Col Tharatcha reported that they confessed to working together as a drug – dealing network.

“Mr Chiaw ordered ya bah and ya ice from the main dealer, a prisoner in Nakhon Sri Thammarat Provincial Prison. The main dealer then ordered his men by phone to deliver the drugs to Mr Chiaw at the appointed time,” the colonel explained.

“Most times they delivered the drugs to Baan Kong Tak on Southern-Krabi-Surat Road, which forms the border between Muang Surat Thani and Kanjanadit Districts of Surat Thani. From there Mr Chiaw took the consignment and stored it in the house at Kokkian,” he said.

“Once there, Mr Santichai and the other suspects would sell the drugs,mostly to teenagers in the Takuapa area. Later, the money would be wired to the dealer,” said Col Tharatcha.

Mr Santichai, Chiaw, Rassamee and Roongrote were all charged with possession of a Category One drug (ya bah and ya ice)and Mr Amorntep was charged with possession of a Category Five drug (marijuana). Mr Chem was charged with carrying a firearm in public place.

“Police will continue the investigation to identify the source of the drugs,” Col Tharatcha added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Thailand

Cannabis could generate 8 billion baht for Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025, expert says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cannabis could generate 8 billion baht for Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025, expert says | The Thaiger

Cannabis could become a major cash crop in Thailand. An expert says the cannabis-based medicinal products could generate up to 8 billion baht for the Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025. Medical cannabis has been legal in Thailand for the past couple years, but recently the government agreed to allow parts of the plant with very, low traces of the “high-inducing” component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to be in medicinal products and food.

Cannabis-based medicines have been used as palliative treatment for some cancer patients in Thailand. Last year, nearly 1 million patients used cannabis-based medicines, according to an economist at Kasetsart University’s Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, Ravissa Suchato.

Around 1.2 billion baht worth of medical cannabis was consumed last year, according to Ravissa, who led a recent study on the economic impact of commercial cannabis cultivation in Thailand. If the average consumption rises as expected, medical cannabis could generate 8 billion baht within the next 5 years.

“We believe marijuana has great potential as a cash crop because more patients will start using marijuana-based drugs soon.”

In the past, Thai officials have discussed the opportunity to tap into the global cannabis market by exporting medical cannabis, but Ravissa says Thailand still has a way to go.

“Globally, the recreational use of marijuana has risen a lot faster than pharmaceutical use, so the prospect of exporting marijuana-based medicines from Thailand is still a long way off.”

Parts of the cannabis plant that are rich in THC, like the buds, are still illegal and classified as a Category 5 narcotic. Trafficking the plant is still heavily criminalised. Just over the past few days, border patrol police in the Northeastern province Nakhon Pathom seized hundreds of kilograms of dried, compressed cannabis believed to have been trafficked across the Mekong River from Laos and destined for the South, possibly to Malaysia.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Crime

Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized

Caitlin Ashworth

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Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

In another drug bust in Northeastern province Nakhon Phanom, police arrested a man and seized 500 kilograms of compressed cannabis. Just yesterday, border patrol police in the province seized 920 kilograms of compressed cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. In both cases, police suspect the cannabis came from Laos, just across the river.

Police say they searched a black Nissan Navara pickup around 1am in the province’s Na Kae district. Police opened the truck’s bed cover and found 12 sacks with 500 packages of dried, compacted cannabis. Each package of cannabis weighed 1 kilogram, similar to the previous bust on the river.

28 year old Saravut Butngam was arrested. Saravut previously worked in construction, but has recently been unemployed. He allegedly told police that a man called him with an opportunity to make 50,000 baht. He was told to drive the pickup truck from a petrol station in the Na Kae district to a specified location in the neighbouring province Sakon Nakhon, police say. From there, another driver would take over.

Border police commander Sippanan Sornkhunkaew says he suspects the cannabis seized in the province was trafficked from Laos across the Mekong River. He says he believes the cannabis was planned to be trafficked to Southern Thailand and then smuggled across the border, possibly to Malaysia.

On Sunday morning, police confiscated 920 kilograms of cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. When police approached the boat, men jumped off onto a smaller boat and fled the scene. The dried, compacted cannabis was wrapped in 1 kilogram packages.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Drugs

Police seize 920 kilograms of cannabis smuggled across the Mekong River

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police seize 920 kilograms of cannabis smuggled across the Mekong River | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

In a major bust on the Mekong River, notorious for drug smuggling, border patrol police seized 920 kilograms of dried, compacted cannabis from a boat along the Nakhon Pathom riverbank, bordering Laos.

Police were tipped off about a large shipment of drugs being trafficked across the Thai-Laos border. Police spotted a boat around 4am yesterday. When police moved in, men onboard the boat jumped onto a smaller boat and sped off. Police found 23 sacks filled with 1-kilogram packages of compressed cannabis.

Police seize 920 kilograms of cannabis smuggled across the Mekong River | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: MGR Online

In the recent months, police have seized more than 5 tonnes of cannabis. While the Thai government has been loosening measures on cannabis, allowing parts of the plant with low traces of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to be used in food and medicinal products, trafficking cannabis is still illegal. Cannabis with high amounts of THC is still classified as a Category 5 narcotic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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