Drug crack­down nets 63 ar­rests in month

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - BOONNAM KERDKAEW

A mas­sive anti-drug op­er­a­tion over the past month has nabbed 63 peo­ple and seized as­sets val­ued at 241 mil­lion baht, po­lice say.

Deputy po­lice chief Chalermkiat Srivo­rakhan and Nar­cotics Sup­pres­sion Bu­reau (NSB) com­mis­sioner Som­mai Kong­wi­saisook, yes­ter­day held a press brief­ing about the op­er­a­tion, named “Chaiya Sayop Pairee 61/3”, which started on Jan 20.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cers, the op­er­a­tion im­pounded 404,695 metham­phetamine tablets (ya ba), 202 kilo­grammes of cannabis, 2,830 ec­stasy pills and 673 kilo­grammes of crys­tal metham­phetamine (ya ice).

Of­fi­cers re­cov­ered 11 firearms and 173 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion dur­ing the raids. As­sets seized from the op­er­a­tion in­cluded 33 cars, 13 mo­tor­cy­cles, 11 houses and con­do­mini­ums, 27 land ti­tle deeds, 20 mil­lion baht worth of gold or­na­ments and 19 mil­lion baht in cash.

One of the drug syn­di­cates tar­geted by the raids was that of Ji­rat Pen­sophon­witch, also known as Ek Ouan, who was cap­tured at his house in Non­thaburi in Septem­ber last year.

His cap­ture led po­lice to ap­pre­hend his wife, Su­parat Yueny­ing, and his mother-in­law Yuwadee Kotkao, who were found to have pos­sessed as­sets on Mr Ji­rat’s be­half, in­clud­ing houses and con­do­mini­ums in Pat­taya, worth more than 159 mil­lion baht, of­fi­cers said.

The op­er­a­tion also tar­geted a drug ring al­legedly run by Wan­chalerm Kamollert, also known as Note Din­daeng. The group is also con­nected with Akarakit “Benz Rac­ing” Wo­raro­jcharoen­det, and Natthaphol “Boy” Nakkham, of­fi­cers said.

Po­lice said Mr Natthapol was linked with Lao drug lord Xaysana Keopim­pha’s drug syn­di­cate. Xaysana was ar­rested early last year.

Dur­ing the raids on tar­gets linked with Mr Wan­chalerm’s syn­di­cate, of­fi­cers ar­rested Mr Wan­chalerm’s brother, Pa­hoon Ka­mon­lert, who is a folk singer and for­mer pro­fes­sional foot­baller, as well as Po­janat Permpoon. They were sus­pected of keep­ing as­sets for Mr Wan­chalerm. More than 50 mil­lion baht worth of houses and lux­ury ve­hi­cles were seized from them.

Pol Lt Gen Som­mai said Mr Wan­chalerm’s syn­di­cate used lux­ury cars and big mo­tor­cy­cles to trans­port drugs. Based on ac­counts from for­eign­ers tak­ing part in rac­ing com­pe­ti­tions in Thai­land, drugs were sold and dis­trib­uted dur­ing the events, he said.

“Mr Pa­hoon, who is Note’s brother, was sup­ported by the syn­di­cate to be­come an ac­tor. He was to be re­spon­si­ble for own­ing as­sets [from the gang],” said Pol Lt Gen Som­mai, adding the group be­lieved it would be eas­ier to avoid po­lice in­spec­tion when as­sets are held by an out­side party.

In Su­rat Thani’s Koh Phangan, po­lice ar­rested a Le­banese na­tional, who is a man­ager of a hos­tel, for al­legedly pos­sess­ing mar­i­juana on the pop­u­lar tourist is­land on Tues­day. He was iden­ti­fied as Salem Hous­sam, 34.

They found 3.94 grammes of cannabis and 11 grammes of hashish, of­fi­cers said. Ac­cord­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Mr Hous­sam held par­ties for for­eign guests at the hos­tel and dis­trib­uted drugs to them.

Mean­while, a 33-year-old woman was ar­rested at a check­point in Kan­chanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district on Tues­day evening for al­legedly car­ry­ing 30,000 ya ba tablets in her car.

PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Gold or­na­ments are shown as part of 241-mil­lion-baht worth of as­sets seized dur­ing anti-drug op­er­a­tions over the past month.

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