Nine arrests after huge Thai drugs bust

More than four million speed pills are presented by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board after a major crackdown on a drug network believed to be linked to the network of alleged Lao drug cartel leader Xaysana Keopimpha. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
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Authorities have cracked down on a major drug network, arresting nine suspects and seizing over 4.4 million methamphetamine pills as well as other illegal drugs following searches in eight provinces in recent weeks, a senior police officer said yesterday.

Police have confiscated a total of 4.42 million speed pills, 100kg of crystal ice, 49kg of ketamine, 1,514 ecstasy pills and some dried marijuana, said Pol Maj Gen Supakit Srichantaranon, deputy commander of the Narcotics Suppression Department.

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He was speaking at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) in central Phaya Thai district as he announced the arrests of the nine suspects.

Some 31 searches were carried out in eight provinces in the Northeast, Central Plains and the South where the network of alleged Lao drug cartel leader Xaysana Keopimpha operates.

Mr Xanyana, who was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on Jan 19, is the alleged mastermind behind several drug rackets in Southeast Asia.

In the latest crackdown, officers from Police Provincial Region 5 caught Sakchai Saeyang, 27, a resident of Lampang, and 24-year-old Yafati Saeyang, a resident of Chiang Rai, in front of Bangmohpuang temple in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district, police said.

The men had in their possession most of the crystal ice and speed pills, as well as all the ketamine. In addition to this, three cars and seven mobile phones were seized, Pol Maj Gen Supakit said.

The arrest comes after narcotics police widened their investigation into Mr Xanyana’s drug racket, he added.

Earlier, police apprehended another member of the drug network, 27-year-old Boy Nakkham, they said.

Police were tipped off that illicit drugs would be smuggled across the Thai-Myanmar border at a certain checkpoint to be distributed to customers in Bangkok and the surrounding areas, Pol Maj Gen Supakit said.

In addition to this, a combined team of narcotics police and customs officials apprehended Noverdian Sutianshah Sutedjo, 38, an Indonesian national, at a condominium in Sathon district last Sunday with 1,507 ecstasy pills, ONCB’s secretary-general Sirinya Sitthichai said.

A search of his room revealed 1.5g of crystal ice, 4g of dried marijuana and seven more ecstasy pills, all of which were seized as evidence, he added.

In the third case, police caught six drug suspects and seized 401,531 methamphetamine pills, three cars, four mobile phones, a gun and nine bullets, officials said.

-The Bangkok Post

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