Acting on a tip-off, a team of Phuket provincial anti-narcotics special operations officers and police at the Phuket Check Point in Tha Chatchai were on the lookout for a vehicle carrying a large amount of kratom into Phuket early yesterday morning when at about 4:30am they noticed a blue Bangkok-registered Toyota Camry parked nearby.
Officers approached the Camry and found Eakkasit “Pak” Srijarung, 40, and Rachen Tohla, 21, sitting inside, said a report of the arrests by Danai Jaikheng, Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) of Phuket’s Muang District.
Officers took Eakkasit and Rachen in for questioning and soon learned that they were scouting for two other men who were waiting in a white Phuket-registered Isuzu Mu-X loaded with kratom parked in front of Baan Tha Noon School in Khok Kloi, Phang Nga.
Eakkasit and Rachen men had been the scouts in the lead vehicle for the Isuzu all the way from Chumphon, making sure the way was clear for the Isuzu to proceed without being stopped by police.
At about 5:30am, the white Isuzu arrived at the checkpoint, with Thanakorn Khuiyoksuk, 40, and Nattapong “An” Binya-te, 29, inside.
Officers found 385kg of kratom in packs stuffed into the interior of the cab, said the report.
At the time of his arrest, Thanakorn held the rank of Senior Sergeant Major and was serving with Marine Police Station 3 Sub-Division 8, stationed in Phuket, the report noted.
In making the arrests, police seized the kratom, the Isuzu, the blue Camry, two 11mm bullets and four mobile phones.
After his arrest, Thanakorn told police that he bought the kratom in Chumphon and the men worked as a team of four, with Nattapong driving Isuzu and Eakkasit and Rachen keeping watch as scouts along the road.
They were to split the money after the kratom was sold, he said.
Thanakorn admitted to police that the two bullets found in the Isuzu were his, said the report.
Eakkasit and Rachen confessed that they were hired by Thankorn to drive the Camry and inform him about police checkpoints on the way to Phuket Town, the report added.
They were paid B5,000 each time. This was their fourth time, the report said.
All four men wer charged with possession of a Category 5 drug with intent to sell.
Thanakorn was also charged with illegal possession of ammunition, the report confirmed.