The news came through an announcement by Customs spokesman Chaiyut Khamkun yesterday (June 17), confirming that Customs officers had seized a total of 17.19kg of cocaine worth about B51.47 million in two incidents in the past two weeks.
The 29-year-old South African man was traveling from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and landed at Phuket airport at about 12:30pm on June 9, Mr Chaiyut explained.
A baggage inspection found nothing illegal, but officers were suspicious that the man might be smuggling drugs into the country by passing through Customs after swallowing the contraband.
No explanation was given as to why Customs officers thought this.
The man was taken to Thalang Hospital, where an x-ray confirmed the officers’ suspicions. Many foreign objects of a round, oval shape were identified to be in his abdomen.
The man subsequently admitted to swallowing capsules containing drugs. At that time which drug had been consumed had not been confirmed, Mr Chaiyut continued.
However, the patient Customs officers later confirmed the man had swallowed 115 capsules altogether containing 1.49kg of cocaine, estimated to be worth B4.47mn, he said.
The South African man has since been taken to Sakhu Police Station, located just south of Phuket airport, and charged accordingly, Mr Chaiyut confirmed.
Then on Monday this week (June 13), Customs officers at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok arrested three people arriving from Brazil who were caught with 15.7kg of cocaine hidden in the bottom lining of their pieces of luggage.
The drugs seized was valued at about B47mn, Mr Chaiyut said.
The three entered the country with five items of luggage, which officers searched and scanned by x-ray, he said.
The inspections discovered the cocaine in packages that were wrapped with plastic as the inner layer and then wrapped with black carbon paper used for copying documents.
All three were charged for attempting to smuggle the drugs into the country, Mr Chaiyut confirmed.