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Police raid meth factory, B170mn in raids

BANGKOK: Police yesterday (Dec 20) raided multiple locations in five provinces believed to be linked to a major drug syndicate run by a Myanmar national, aka Mangkorn (Dragon) Jang, seizing at least B150 million worth of assets from the gang.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 21 December 2018, 09:24AM

A detained drug suspect leads police to a tunnel under the Southern Cross Group’s premises in Tak’s Mae Sot district on Thursday. The facility is believed to serve as a lab for making crystal meth aka ice. Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham / Bangkok Post

A detained drug suspect leads police to a tunnel under the Southern Cross Group’s premises in Tak’s Mae Sot district on Thursday. The facility is believed to serve as a lab for making crystal meth aka ice. Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham / Bangkok Post

Eleven searched locations were in Tak’s Mae Sot district. The others were in Bangkok, Lop Buri, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

In Mae Sot district, officers arrested Prapat Sae-tuang, 27, and his mother-in-law, Natho Yodmahawan, at their house on Song Kwai Rd in Tambon Mae Sot. They were believed to be associated with a drug gang run by Mangkorn Jang, whose real name is Arsue Songkittikul, 48.

The syndicate is allegedly linked to Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for smuggling 1.2 methamphetamine (ya bah) pills into Thailand in 2016.

He was charged with possession, said Pol Lt Gen Chinnapat Sarasin, Chief of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

The searches failed to locate Arsue, who is believed to have gone into hiding.

In Tambon Mae Kasa of Mae Sot district, officers searched Arsue’s company which sits on a 22-rai plot of land. Southern Cross Group Co runs a jewellery trading business there, Gen Chinnapat said.

He said officers found a tunnel under the company premises that stretches more than 100 metres to the rear of the location. They suspected it could be used as an escape route in the event of such raids.

They also found a facility believed to have been used to produce crystal meth (ya ice) he said.

Between September 2015 and November 2016, anti-drug agencies along with their counterparts in the US and Australia, were acting on intelligence that Arsue’s gang planned to shift 200kg of ya ice from Myanmar to Australia via Thailand and Malaysia. But the deal fell through.

Myanmar authorities still managed to bust two members of the syndicate along with 1,100kg of ya ice in their vehicle before discovering another 621kg of ya ice at a warehouse in Yangon.

Two Taiwanese suspected of being involved with the gang were also apprehended in Yangon.

The narcotics were reportedly bound for a boat waiting in the Andaman Sea.

A probe showed the narcotics belonged to Arsue and that Myanmar authorities contacted the Border Liaison Office (BLO) in Mae Sot, asking Thai officials to help hunt down Arsue and his wife, believed to have fled to Thailand.

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At least B150 million in assets belonging to the syndicate were seized during yesterday’s raids.

Ayutthaya police also held a press briefing on their recent efforts to thwart drug offenders.

More than 100 locations in 16 districts have been searched and 225 suspects nabbed, officers said.

Around 21,000 ya bah pills were recovered along with B20mn in assets belonging to the offenders.

On Wednesday night, police found 130kg of ketamine inside a car that had plunged into a roadside ditch in Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district. An investigation is under way to determine those involved with the drug. (See story here.)

Police Region 1, which is in charge of the Central Plains, held a briefing on the arrests of three drug suspects.

The first suspect, Apirak Jadrabeab, 18, was linked with a major drug dealer, aka Dam Esso, Police arrested Apirak at a condominium in Tambon Bang Pheung of Phra Pradaeng District of Samut Prakan on Tuesday evening. Found at the property were 416,000 ya bah tablets and 5kg of ya ice.

The condominium belongs to Apirak, who is on the run.

Officers also apprehended Thalerngsak Deesantheay, 35, and Lamai Kaewpet, 19, at a checkpoint in Tambon Pho Talay of Bang Rachan District of Sing Buri on Tuesday. They found 104g of ya ice, 10,000 ya bah tablets and three pistols in their pickup.

In Chiang Rai, officers held a news conference about their drug suppression operations in the North since Oct 26.

They said 113,655,762 ya bah tablets, 1,493.37kg of ya ice and 140.3kg of heroin had been seized over 56 days.


Read original story here.



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