Drug crackdown nets 63 arrests in month
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.
Gold ornaments are shown as part of 241-million-baht worth of assets seized during anti-drug operations over the past month.