Drug trafficker killed, 2m ‘ya ba’ pills seized

Security officials show more than 2 million speed pills seized following a clash with a drug smuggling gang in the border district of Mae Sai in Chiang Rai. (Photo by Chinpat Chaimon)

CHIANG RAI: A drug smuggler was killed, two others arrested and more than 2 million speed pills seized following a clash with security forces along the Thai-Myanmar border in Mae Sai district late Friday night.

A combined team of soldiers and police were sent to patrol a road along the border in Phamee village, tambon Wiang Pang Kham, after Col Kitakorn Chantha, chief of the Pha Muang military task force, received a tip-off that illicit drugs were being smuggled across the border, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osodsathakorn said on Saturday.

While patrolling the area, the team spotted a suspicious white Toyota Vigo pickup truck with a Phayao licence plate. The officers signalled the driver to stop for a search, but the driver immediately made a U-turn in the middle of the road and sped off.

Speed pills are found in plastic bags left by a drug gang following an exchange of gunfire with security forces in Chiang Rai late Friday night. (Photo by Chinpat Chaimon)

 

While fleeing, armed men on board the vehicle opened fire on the officers, who returned fire. During the exchange of gunfire, the pickup truck veered off the road into a roadside bush and got stuck. Some men were seen getting out of the vehicle and running away.

One man, identified later as Ronnaphon Saefa, of Chiang Rai’s Khun Tan, was shot dead inside the vehicle. No officers were hurt.

Twelve plastic bags were left in the back of the pickup truck. Six more bags and two rucksacks were found about 50 metres away. All of them contained 2,268,000 speed pills in total, said the governor.

After the clash, the soldiers and police hunted the fleeing smugglers. One Myanmar national identified only as Arsu, 20, was caught about 100m away from the scene of the clash. Another man, whose name was not yet known, was arrested on Saturday morning.

The duo confessed that they and the other men had been hired for 10,000 baht each to smuggle drugs from the border village of Phakhao opposite Mae Fa Luang district of hiang Rai, authorities said. – Bangkok Post

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