One billion baht in assets seized during Phitsanulok drug bust

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

Police in the central Thai province of Phitsanulok have seized assets valued around one billion baht from a gold shop and its related businesses. The store was suspected of being the ‘shop front’ to a larger drug trading network. An arrest warrant was issued for the shop’s owner, his son is already in custody.

A team of around 100 officers from provincial police, narcotics and other agencies searched 13 venues in Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai yesterday.

The operation followed the October arrest of four drug suspects and the seizure of more than a million methamphetamine pills in Chiang Rai.

Once questioned, the suspects from the earlier arrests implicated Nanthaphan Apichaithanathip, owner of the gold shop, and his son Phanthanan Apichaithanathip.

Officers had earlier arrested two other suspects, 36 year old Chalermpong Kosiri and 50 year old Bulakorn Kaewma, at a petrol station in Ayutthaya on the same night. Chalermpong is Nanthaphan’s son from another relationship.

Their confessions have so far led to six more arrests. Police say Nanthaphan was the leader of the gang and bought drugs from a trafficker.

Authorities seized gold ornaments valued at about 28 million baht from the gold shop’s main branch. Other assets included four properties worth 200 million baht, 10 commercial buildings worth 50 million baht, 58 plots of land worth 155 million baht, Buddha amulets, cars and other valuables valued at another 500 million baht.

The deputy national police chief said the rapid expansion of Nanthaphan’s businesses raised suspicions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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