Cops seize truck, make large Burmese rosewood bust
AYUTTHAYA: Authorities yesterday seized a 10-wheel truck loaded with pricey illegal Burmese rosewood.
The driver was arrested for alleged involvement in illegal logging as he was delivering 15 cubic metres of processed rosewood from the North to Ayutthaya, the Department of Natural Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said.
Pongsakorn Jarnnok, 40, is a Sa Ket native. According to testimony to police, it was his third delivery. He told police he was hired for 25,000 baht for each trip.
He identified his coordinator as a man named Prawit, who handled the payment, and implicated a local politician in Uttaradit province as the mastermind.
Department spokesman Sompot Maneerat said the rosewood (Pterocarpus macrocarpu) was seized on the Bang Pahan-Pathum Thani Road. The shipment was estimated to be worth 3 million baht but the retail export price would be as high as 10 million baht.
Mr Sompot said the wood was believed to have been illegally logged in the North and was destined for a factory in a central province.
The department’s director-general Thanya Netithammakun said the network made no attempt to disguise it as legal product, which suggests it operates without fear of the law.
“In most cases, smugglers would make a mark on the wood to fool the authorities during delivery. This network didn’t try to conceal the wood at all,” he said.
Mr Thanya said the driver faces charges of illegal possession, smuggling and trading of protected wood, but would be treated as a state witness if he helps authorities crack down on the network’s operation.
Officials inspect protected Burmese rosewood on a lorry seized in Ayutthaya’s Muang district yesterday morning.