The first arrest came at a house in Soi Palai at 5pm, when officers armed with a warrant issued after a tip-off from the public arrested Anuwat Kaow-on, 21, from Phattalung.
He was found in possession of 20 kratom leaves, and officers also seized the B2,000 Anuwat had on him and his Phuket-registered Fino motorbike.
During questioning Anuwat told police that he bought the leaves from another person, which led officers to raid a house in the Chao Fa Garden Home residential estate.
When officers arrived no one was home, but while police were talking to neighbours the man living in the house, Thitisan Rimoon, 24, registered as a Chalong resident, arrived on his motorbike.
Officers searched Thitisan and his motorbike and found nothing.
Police asked Thitisan to wait while the warrant to search his home arrived, but cordially invited them into his home to search the premises.
In the house police more kratom leaves and utensils used to boil the leaves as well as water filters and vaporisers.
Thitisan confessed that boiled he the leaves to mix the extracted juice with cough medicine and sold his kratom juice units for B100 each. In the house police found a basket with dozens of B100 notes, though the amount seized was not reported.
Thitisan and Anuwat were both taken to Chalong Police Station for further questioning.
Of note, Kratom is an indigenous tree in Thailand. Chewing its leaves provides a mild stimulant and in Southern Thailand long served as a traditional source as such, much like the use of chewing betel in the Northeast (Isarn).
However, possession of kratom and its use is illegal under Thai law, while betel is not.
Kratom gained particular notoriety with Thai police more than a decade ago when its effects were heightened by extracting juice from its leaves and mixing it with cough medicine and energy drinks to create a formula known on the streets as “Four by One Hundred”, or simply “4x100”.