Speed pills, ice worth Bt50 million seized in Chiang Rai


CHIANG RAI, April 23 — Two drug suspects were arrested in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai with two kilogrammes of ‘ice’, crystal methamphetamine, and 158,000 methamphetamine pills valued at some Bt50 million (about US$1.7 million).

Worawut Eausuwanwong and Supattra Radinghin were detained while boarding a Bangkok-bound bus at Chiang Rai bus terminal with the illicit drugs hidden in their baggage, Pol Maj-Gen Chamnan Ruadraew, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 5 told a press briefing on Monday.

Apart from the drugs, police also confiscated three cellphones as evidence.

According to the initial investigation, the pair is linked to a drug syndicate in the suburban Bangkok province of Nonthaburi.

They implicated a man identified as Thongchai Duangnam as an accomplice.

As a result, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board Region 5 coordinated with the office in region 1 to raid a home of Mr Thongchai in Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district as well sought the Chiang Rai court’s approval for an arrest warrant for Mr Thongchai

Regarding the earlier smuggling of 850 million pseudoephedrine-based pills from South Korea, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung on Monday said that he had ordered the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to probe the alleged import of the 40 tonnes of medicine as well as to stamp out pseudoephedrine drug-related syndicates.

The 850 million pseudoephedrine tablets, weighing 40 tonnes, were smuggled from South Korea to the Thailand by plane and had filed false cargo declaration at the airport, the deputy premier explained, adding that two companies were suspected of being involved in the shipment of the pills.

The suspicious companies were identified as a supplier of integrated circuits and a car dealership.

The pseudoephedrine-based pills can be used to produce methamphetamine.

In a related development of Sunday’s crackdown at Nakhon Si Thammarat prison, Mr Chalerm admitted that some government personnel were involved and colluded with wrongdoers. Assets of those persons would be confiscated.

Initially, Narong Yongnarongdejkul, head of Na Khon Si Thammarat prison, was transferred to an inactive post and his assets were seized.

Chalerm planned to use the Sunday’s operation to suppress illegal drugs and forbidden items in Nakhon Si Thammarat as a model for other prisons nationwide.

The early Sunday raid by 650 commandos and police officers at the prison found 280 mobile phones and tablets, 1,700 methamphetamine and 50 grammes of crystal methamphetamine, known as ice, in the prison, according to the deputy director–general of the Corrections Department, Sophon Thitithammarak, and Nakhon Si Thammrat Governor Wirote Jiwarangsan.

Ten sets of drug paraphernalia, gambling equipment, knives and 47,000 baht in cash were also seized.