Thai Authorities Seize Ice Valued at U.S. $40 Million

BenarNews staff
2016.12.16
Bangkok
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161216-TH-meth-620.jpg Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau displays bags of crystal methamphetamine that had been hidden in an 18-wheeler, Dec. 16, 2016.
Courtesy Narcotics Suppression Bureau

Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) on Friday announced a record seizure of nearly one-half metric tonne of crystal methamphetamine and the arrest of seven citizens for drug trafficking.

The haul had a street value of about 1.4 billion baht (U.S. $40 million), according to a statement released by the NSB.

Officers carried out the bust in an operation that started late Wednesday and continued into Thursday.

It began after a car stopped short of a police check-point in southern Chumphon province, according to the statement. Police searched the vehicle but found nothing.

“But the driver was acting suspiciously, refusing to answer mobile phone calls in presence of police ... he began to shake and sweat,” the NSB statement said, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse.

Investigators found two suspects in another vehicle who confessed to acting as lookouts for a convoy transporting drugs, according to the statement.

Officers then found an 18-wheel truck parked at a petrol station in Chumphon town with 500 bars of methamphetamine, also known as ice, wrapped in black plastic bags and hidden under sacks of corn husks, the NSB statement said. Five alleged traffickers were arrested.

The NSB said the group was hired by a man named “Kai” for 2 million baht ($55,788) to carry drugs from Payao province in northern Thailand to Sadao district in southern Songkhla province, which lies on the border with Malaysia.

Early Thursday, the NSB arrested two more men who were waiting to pick up the shipment in Sadao district and resume transporting it to its next destination, according to the statement.

“It’s a record seizure of these drugs,” Maj. Gen. Dusadee Choosangkij told AFP. “I believe they were to be stored in Malaysia and then destined for either Australia or Taiwan.”

In March, Thai police arrested two Malaysians who were allegedly carrying 282 kilograms (621 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine at the Sadao checkpoint in Songkhla province, while trying to enter Malaysia. Thai authorities said neighboring Malaysian authorities had tipped them off.

About a week earlier, Thai police announced the arrests of 15 Malaysians suspected of trying to smuggle crystal methamphetamine and heroin by train into Malaysia.

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