Phuket native Nontharit ‘Nice’ Ketchart, 19, and Suwimol ‘Palm’ Mayu, 18, originally from Nongkhai, were arrested at Baan Bang Duk Pier in Mai Khao early Wednesday morning (Dec 30), reported Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Pornsak Nuannoo.
The couple were arrested at about 3:30am after officers led by Maj Phirasit Noophayan moved in during a police operation, Maj Gen Pornsak explained.
Nontharit and Suwimol were found with 220kg of kratom leaves packed in 22 black plastic bags.
In making the arrests, police also seized a black Honda Civic car registered in Nakhon Ratchasima and a white Phuket-registered Mazda 2 car as evidence, Maj Gen Pornsak confirmed.
Maj Phirasit confirmed that Nontharit and Suwimol were taken to Tha Chatchai police station where they had been charged with possession of a Category 5 drug with intent to sell.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin only last month confirmed that kratom leaves will be removed as a specifically controlled substance under the Narcotics Act.
Kratom is currently classified as Category 5 on the national drugs list.
Mr Somsak said only kratom, a plant containing a natural stimulant, will be removed from the list. It contained only a small amount of the drug, he said.
Proper consumption of kratom, for example no more than 20 leaves per day, would not have harmful effects on people’s health or physical condition, Justice Minister Somsak explained.
Once kratom had been officially removed from the list, laws would be issued requiring people to seek official permission to grow it, and to prevent the leaves being sold to children, he said.