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.