The total value of the items seized were estimated to be worth B3 million, Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai announced at a press conference at Phuket Provincial Hall today (Dec 27).
Acting on a tip-off, officers from the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) staged a stakeout near the Hong Yok Bamrung School in Mai Khao.
The officers had been told that four vehicles were being used to smuggle kratom into Phuket from Sadao in Songkhla province, which borders Malaysia.
The four vehicles were to arrive in Phuket some time between 4am and 6am, Vice Governor Supoj explained.
The four vehicles identified as making the drug run were described as a black Isuzu pickup registered in Rayong, a black Toyota Fortuner registered in Bangkok, a white Honda Jazz registered in Phuket, and a bronze Toyota Yaris registered in Songkhla.
The vehicles were to take the kratom to a house in Cherng Talay, from where it would be distributed and sold across the island, he said.
True to their informant’s word, the officers on the stakeout saw the four vehicles arrive at 5am, and followed the cars to a house in Soi Khoktanod 2.
At 5:30am the officers moved in and arrested the driver of the Isuzu pickup, Niras Jaeka, 27.
They then entered the house and arrested six more suspects, identified as: Ms Prapawadee Sa-ngiam, 34; Mr Thawatchai Chabharp, 23; Mr Bakareeya Waehama, 23; Mr Jaran Wongkha, 49; Ms Khemwika Wongkha, 30; and Ms Nidanuch Manrato, 29.
In the house, the officers found 45 plastic bags containing a total of 450kg of kratom.
Five more bags were still on the front seat in the Isuzu pickup
All suspects were taken to Cherng Talay Police Station and charged with possession of a Category 5 drug with intent to sell.