Thai Customs Dept joins anti-drug operation to quell drug smuggling at northern border


CHIANG RAI, March 4 – Thai Customs Department was ready to cooperate with relevant government agencies in efforts to suppress illicit drug smuggling in the northern region, according to Customs Director-General Somchai Pulsawas.

Mr Somchai on Sunday said that he instructed customs officers in the northern region to work with other agencies to fight against the illegal drugs in response to the drug suppression policy, one of the government’s major policies.

The director-general admitted that customs houses in the northern provinces were the most vulnerable to drug smuggling, as seen from the high statistics of drug seizures, adding that the Thai-Myanmar border’s Mae Sai customs house in Chiang Rai recorded the highest statistics of drug confiscations.

As a result, he ordered Mae Sai customs officers to conduct examination by X-ray scanners for all goods instead of random checks. A recent search led to the arrest of a suspected drug trafficker and confiscation of methamphetamine pills and a substrate used to produce crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ‘ice’, which was falsely declared as fertilizer bound for Myanmar.

In an attempt to suppress drug smuggling along the borders, the customs department adjusted its strategies by installing mobile X-ray equipment at highway police checkpoints in Lamphun and Lampang to stem illegal drugs smuggled at the border without passing customs checkpoints.

During the past few months, the customs department has impounded 8-9 million pseudoephedrine pills, a substrate for producing illegal drugs, at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s main international airport, Mr Somchai added.