Bangkok police arrest 13, seize 1.5 million speed pills
Published by The Star Online – Monday 4 February, 2003
Copyright: The Star Online
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP): Police in Bangkok arrested 13 Thais and seized nearly 1.5 million methamphetamine tablets worth about 30 million baht (US$678,997) in weekend drug raids, officials said Monday.
Police raided a suspected drug den in a run-down hotel in the outskirts of Bangkok on Sunday, seizing 500,000 speed pills, a .22 caliber gun, a pipe containing 0.45 kilogrammes (1 pound) of C4 plastic explosive and two detonators, and a car police, Gen. Sant Sarutanond said in a statement.
They arrested four unidentified men and Wutthipong Chuahongkaew, 40, an alleged stolen vehicle trafficker known for trading cars for drugs in neighbouring Cambodia, he said.
Sant said the raid was planned using information from a previous arrest in northern Thailand. “It’s a vast network,” he said.
In another raid, police on Saturday stormed a house in suburban Bangkok, arresting a couple and confiscating nearly 1 million methamphetamine tablets.
Separately, three suspected drug dealers were killed Thursday in a shootout with undercover police in northern Thailand.
The bullet-ridden bodies of Sekan Saelee, Sutham Laoyeepa and a third unidentified man were found at the scene along with 100,000 methamphetamine pills, two pistols and a hand grenade, police said.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has vowed to take tough action to root out drug traffickers, and King Bhumibol Adulyadej reminded the government recently that methamphetamines pose a serious threat to Thai society.
Thai anti-drug agencies have accused the United Wa State Army, a former rebel group now allied with the Myanmar government, of flooding Thailand with methamphetamines.
The Thai military has estimated that at least 1 billion speed tablets will be smuggled into Thailand from neighbouring Myanmar, also known as Burma, in 2003.