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B2bn heroin haul in Northeast

NAKHON PHANOM: Authorities have seized 600 kilogrammes of heroin worth at least B2 billion and arrested a suspected drug courier in the largest haul in the Northeast this year.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 31 July 2021, 08:45AM

Phongphitak Pradaphol, 46, of Nong Bua Lam Phu, was apprehended at a resort in tambon Pai Lom of Ban Phaeng district in Nakhon Phanom late Thursday night (July 29) after police followed his car, reports the Bangkok Post.

Seized from his vehicle were 1,673 bars of compressed heroin, weighing 600kg in total, said Pol Lt Gen Yanyong Vej-osoth, chief of Provincial Police Region 4.

During questioning, the suspect claimed he had been hired for B5,000 to pick up the heroin in Ban Phaeng district of the northeastern province to deliver to a transnational drug gang. The drugs would be transported to southern Thailand and then shipped abroad, he reportedly told police.

Pol Lt Gen Yanyong said it was the largest haul of heroin seized in the Northeast this year. The drugs had a street value of at least B2bn.

Officers from several agencies helped track down the suspect, he added.

Police believe the drugs had been smuggled from the northern border area. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, security has been tightened along the northern border with Myanmar, prompting smugglers to shift their routes to the Northeast.

The notorious Golden Triangle remains the source of most of the drugs trafficked in the region, and the trade has been thriving despite the pandemic. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime also noted in a recent report that more shipments, especially those involving methamphetamines, are coming into Thailand via Laos instead of Myanmar as before.

The investigation would be extended to bring members of the drug network and the mastermind to task, said Pol Lt Gen Yanyong.

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