Col Torsak Sukwimon, head of the police commando division, said his unit has worked closely with railway police in searching and providing a presence on trains running along the main northern and southern routes.
The effort is part of the “Police in Train” campaign aimed at cracking down on illicit drug smuggling on trains and boosting passenger safety.
Of the northern and southern trains targeted, the route connecting Bangkok and Chiang Mai has received particular attention because it is one of the main transport routes favoured by drug smuggling gangs, he said.
Police targeted suspects wanted on arrest warrants for drug offences, Col Torsak said, adding that 54 wanted suspects were arrested last year and 59 others on warrants have been apprehended so far this year.
Police are now expanding operations to cover rail routes across the country to stamp out drug smuggling activities, particularly those in border provinces, Col Torsak said.
Smugglers usually pose as tourists and take the drugs from the border areas to Bangkok on trains, Col Torsak said.
Many of the drugs are destined for a third country, so Bangkok is just a transit point, he added.
Drugs from the far North destined for Malaysia pass through Bangkok, so the journeys are long which means many smugglers usually travel on a long-haul sleeper trains, police said.
They also switch smuggling routes often, making it difficult for police to hunt them, police said.
The arrest of more than 100 drug suspects over the past two years underscores the success of the “Police in Train” campaign, Col Torsak said.
One successful case was the arrest of Malaysian drug smugglers by the Central Investigation Bureau in March with 226kg of crystal meth (ya ice) and 8kg of heroin, worth over B3 billion, in their possession.
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