Abbot nicked for selling acid disguised as ‘traditional medicine’ at temple

Narcotics suppression officials search Wat Khaopoem Srisawang in Ban Na district, Nakhon Nayok, on Thursday. (Photos by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board)

Authorities raided a temple in Ban Na district on Thursday and arrested two people, including the abbot, on charges of selling a liquid “traditional medicine” spiked with methamphetamine.

Officers from the Narcotics Control Board, supported by soldiers, raided Wat Khaopoem Srisawang in tambon Khao Poem, ONCB secretary-generel Sirinya Sidhichai said.

They arrested the 61-year-old abbot Phra Khru Opas Thammachote and Suwannachote Imsamai, 43. The abbot had a previous drug record, he said

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Callers on the ONCB’s hotline had complained that “traditional medicine” containing methamphetamine was available at the temple, which runs a drug rehabilitation centre.

Plainclothes officers entered the temple in the guise of being drug addicts.

Mr Suwannachote, who worked at the rehabilitation centre, had sold them a liquid “medicine” at 100 baht per bottle, as had the abbot.

The undercover agents had bought the products twice, obtaining 11 bottles. Laboratory testing had found all of them contained methamphetamine and caffeine. They obtained arrest warrants for both suspects and raided the temple, Mr Sirinya said.

Sitthisak Watjanarat, ONCB’s director of narcotics suppression, said the abbot’s secular name was Suwan Wongsricha. He had been expelled from the monkhood once before for possession of methamphetamine and sale of similar meth-mixed “traditional medicine”.

He had served a prison term and then returned to the same illegal business.

Mr Sitthisak said the ONCB received a lot of complaints about drug use at temples.

Officials would investigate whether any drug traffickers or released convicts entered the monkhood as cover for their illegal dealing, he said.

Bottles of “traditional medicine” laced with methamphtamine seized at the temple.

 

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