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.
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.