Wa Nua drug ring mem­ber, ‘ice’ haul seized in North


A sus­pected key mem­ber of the no­to­ri­ous Wa Nua drug ring was ar­rested and 250 kilo­grammes of crys­tal metham­phetamine — val­ued at around 750 mil­lion baht — seized in Phayao, po­lice re­vealed yes­ter­day.

Mon­tree Yot­ma­nee­ban­pot was ar­rested last week along with two other sus­pects iden­ti­fied as Ban­jong Sae-Li and Sin­chai Sae-Li.

The Wa Nua drug syn­di­cate is be­lieved to be be­hind the at­tempted traf­fick­ing of 9.4 mil­lion metham­phetamine pills and 788kg crys­tal meth from Laos into Thai­land ear­lier this month. The at­tempt failed af­ter it was in­ter­cepted by Thai au­thor­i­ties.

All three ar­rested sus­pects were de­tained at a PT fuel sta­tion in Chi­ang Kham district dur­ing a crack­down on nar­cotics dur­ing the Songkran fes­ti­val. The March 28-April 17 crack­down was launched by the Nar­cotics Sup­pres­sion Bu­reau (NSB).

The three sus­pects, all Chi­ang Rai res­i­dents, were ar­rested af­ter the NSB’s sub-divi­sion 3 was tipped off by an in­for­mant that they would use Chi­ang KhamJoon road to trans­port drugs smug­gled in from Laos.

Au­thor­i­ties sta­tioned along the route later spot­ted a lorry with a Sri Sa Ket li­cence plate and a Toy­ota pickup truck with a Chi­ang Rai li­cence plate which matched de­scrip­tions pro­vided by the in­for­mant.

Of­fi­cers fol­lowed both ve­hi­cles to the petrol sta­tion where they searched the ve­hi­cles. The search un­cov­ered 250kg of crys­tal meth, or “ya ice,” mixed with corn ker­nels hid­den in 13 sacks.

Dur­ing ques­tion­ing the three sus­pects told po­lice they were paid by a Lao drug dealer to de­liver the crys­tal meth to a drugs gang in Ayut­thuya. The drugs were to be later dis­trib­uted to deal­ers in the cen­tral re­gion.

Po­lice, how­ever, were not con­vinced and be­lieved the crys­tal meth was des­tined for the prov­inces bor­der­ing Malaysia.

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