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Phuket-bound mules busted with 780kg of kratom

PHUKET: Police and military personnel arrested a man at the Phuket Checkpoint yesterday (Sept 16) as he tried to smuggle onto the island more than half a ton of kratom leaves jammed into a Toyota Fortuner.

By The Phuket News

Monday 17 September 2018, 07:03PM

Wichan Kaikew, 38, from Songkhla, told police that he was paid B6,000 to bring the kratom to Phuket. Photo: Tha Chatchai Police

Wichan Kaikew, 38, from Songkhla, told police that he was paid B6,000 to bring the kratom to Phuket. Photo: Tha Chatchai Police

Noticing the odd load jammed into the car, officers stopped and searched the vehicle. On opening one the bags, the officers realised that it was packed solid with kratom leaves, as were the rest of the bags.

In all, officers counted that the bright pink bags in total contained 530kg of kratom leaves.

The driver of the vehicle, Wichan Kaikew, 38, from Songkhla, told the officers that he was hired by his brother-in-law, Rungtawan Srijumpa, to pick up the kratom leaves from Bang Klam District in Songkhla and deliver them “a customer” in Patong.

He was paid B6,000 to make the delivery.

He has now been charged with possession of a Category 5 drug with intent to sell.

Officers at the checkpoint arrested two more men early this morning (Sept 17) while they were attempting to bring a further 250kg of kratom packed into a white pickup truck onto the island.

Officers arrested the driver Prachuab Rinrat, 40, and his passenger Yamin Toadol, 26, both from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, at 2:20am, Tha Chatchai Police Chief Col Prawit Suttiruangarun told The Phuket News.

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The two men told police that they were to deliver the kratom to a man in Sakoo, near Phuket International Airport, Col Prawit added.

“Prachuab confirmed that they brought the Kratom from Nakhon Sri Thammarat,” he said.

“He said he was hired by a ‘Mr Bao’ to deliver the kratom for B5,000 to a ‘Mr Gaet’ in Sakoo, in Phuket,” Col Prawit explained.

“Prachuab said he does not know the men’s real names, but said that he was to share money with Yamin and give him B1,000,” he added.

Both men have been charged possession of a Category 5 drug with intent to sell.

“Our officers are continuing their investigation into this,” Col Prawit said.



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Kurt | 18 September 2018 - 12:20:26

Daring/bluffing ones sometimes own 'half the world'. But not always.
We read about arrests for intention to sell. It was sold already, these were just deliveries, right? Is that not a different charge?

Timothy | 18 September 2018 - 09:17:04

That is a ridiculous load to try to sneak past the checkpoint. However, I do remember stories about people managing to smuggle Elephants onto the island. Just bad luck getting caught. I rarely see the police checking cars at the checkpoint. 

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