Security forces seized 11.1 million methamphetamine tablets and arrested a Lao national at a Mekong River pier in Tha Uthen district of Nakhon Phanom province Monday night (Jan 22).
Acting on a tipoff that a huge drug haul was to be smuggled across the Mekong River from Laos to Thailand through Tha Uthen district, dozens of naval officers from the Mekong River patrol unit, border patrol policemen and troops from the Suranaree task force were mobilized to intercept the drug haul.
The security forces were split up into four groups and put on patrol along the porous border while Navy patrol boats navigated the Mekong River to look for suspicious-looking boats.
At about 7 pm Monday night, a boat with about 20 men on board approached a pier in Ban Na Nong Bok, Tambon Chaiburi, security officers who laid in wait in the darkness on the shore then rushed toward the vessel, forcing most of the men to jump into the river and swim away.
One Lao national who cannot swim was the only person left on board and was arrested. Subsequent search uncovered the huge drug haul, amounting to 11.1 million tablets, worth about 2 billion baht.
Narcotics officials said intense drug interdiction in northern provinces bordering Myanmar where most of the illicit drugs originated had force drug trafficking gangs to shifting their smuggling routes through Laos and into northeastern Thailand.
Meanwhile in Bangkok, metropolitan police from the 8th subdivision seized about 800,000 methamphitamine tablets and one car and arrested two men from a house in Sai Mai district on Monday night.
Pol Maj-Gen Ruchakorn Jorajaevuth, deputy commissioner of Metropolitan Police Bureau, said police stormed the house after it was learned that the drugs were about to be delivered by car to dealers in the district.
He said that the two arrested suspects were just delivery men, adding that police were trying to track down the ring leader.