The five men – named as Usaman Mani, 25; Samlee Yapha, 25; Sirichai Maslerdsak, 35; Aris Preewat, 19; and Chaisiri Sekprathan, 30 – were taken into custody by7 a team of defense volunteers led by Rassada subdistrict headman (Kamnan) Chanchai Tantawachirapan and and Phu Yui Baan for Koh Siray, Maitri Doungchan.
All five suspects were presented to administrative officials at the Territorial Defense Volunteers office in Phuket Town at 10:50pm, then taken to Phuket City Police Station to be charged with possession of Category 5 drug with intent to sell.
Mr Maitri said that the arrests came after residents reported a group of teenagers hanging out at a rented home on Koh Siray.
“I went with defense volunteers to investigate but found no one inside the home. However, we discovered 10 bundles of kratom leaves inside the home,” he said.
“Our team monitored the area and waited until the teenagers returned. The group arrived in a pickup truck and started unloading several sacks of kratom into the rented home. We approached them immediately and bring them in for questioning,” Mr Maitri said.
The suspects were reportedly found in possession of a total of 450kg of kratom leaves, he added.
“One of the suspects told us that he ordered kratom from an agent in Pattani. The kratom was transported to him over land and by sea. He kept the kratom in this home and sold them to his clients on the island,” Mr Maitri alleged.
“Police will question them further to break the kratom-smuggling network,” he added.