Speaking at a press conference at Phuket Provincial Hall, Governor Phakaphong explained that the arrests and seizure of the drugs haul came through a joint operation by Border Patrol Police, Phuket Provincial Police and Wichit Police.
Present at the press conference were Border Patrol Police national Deputy Commander Maj Gen Yongkiat Monpranit along with Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Sermpan Sirikong, and Wichit Police Chief Col Nikorn Somsuk.
Governor Phakaphong explained that Capt Ampon Samorthai of the Border Patrol Police 425 unit had received a tip-off from an informant that a “Ms Ying” was selling drugs in Phuket, prompting Capt Ampon and other officers coordinating a sting operation to buy one gramme of crystal meth from a close friend of Ms Ying, named by police only as “Noina” Sunday (Oct 20).
After arresting Noina at 8pm on Sunday, officers tracked down Ms Ying – real name Sutticha Thirawut, age 35 – to a condominium in Soi Rengeng, off Wirat Hongyok Rd, near the Naka Weekend Market in Wichit, Governor Phakaphong explained.
At the condo police arrested Sutticha and her male companion Thanet Thongtan, age 37, and seized 2.4 kilograms of ya ice, valued at about B4.8m, and 76,800 pills of ya bah.
Thanet told police that the couple received deliveries of drugs from a man who always hid drugs somewhere and called them to pick it up, Governor Phakaphong explained.
Thanet said that he and Sutticha did not know the man’s name, he added.
The couple were paid B40,000 to B50,000 for distributing each delivery of drugs to the man’s customers in Phuket, but this time – their third time – they were arrested before being able to distribute any of the drugs, Governor Phakaphong said.
Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Sermpan told the press conference that Sutticha was arrested six years ago and charged with possession of a Category 1 drug.
Phuket Provincial Office Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Anupong Wawongmoon told the press that from October last year through September this year had seen prosecutions in 1,123 drug cases involving ya ice, resulting in the arrest of 1,286 suspects and 12.471kg of the drug being seized.
During the same 12-month period, 1,146 drug cases involving ya bah saw 1,247 suspects arrested and 624,362 meth pills being seized, Mr Anupong said.
A further 4,845 drug cases involving kratom during the same period had seen 5,405 suspects arrested and 5.29 tons of kratom leaves being seized, he added.