Drug traffickers arrested in July while smuggling crystal meth and heroin destined for Malaysia are linked to insurgents in Thailand’s Deep South, Thai authorities said this week.
Narcotics smugglers and separatist rebel groups in the far southern region that borders Malaysia have been involved in a long-term reciprocal relationship, Maj. Gen. Jatuporn Kalumpasut, commander of a task force in Pattani province, told BenarNews.
“We found links between drugs gangs and insurgents. We can confirm that they are connected and have a symbiotic relationship,” Jatuporn said.
On Monday, the Thai police’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) announced that five drug busts nationwide had resulted in the arrests of 16 suspects during the past two weeks. Police also confiscated 9.8 million amphetamine pills, 450 kg (990 pounds) of crystal meth, 77 kg (170 pounds) of heroin, 1.654 kg (3.6 pounds) of cocaine and 706 kg (1550 pounds) of marijuana.
NSB officers said crystal meth and heroin were valued at 1 million baht (U.S. $30,000) per kilo, while methamphetamine is valued at 200 baht ($6) per pill.
Six suspects arrested with crystal meth and heroin allegedly were trying to smuggle the drugs into Malaysia through the border province of Narathiwat, according to police Maj. Gen. Kitti Sapaothong, the NSB’s southern province commander.
Three of the suspects, who allegedly acted as forward observers, were arrested at a highway checkpoint in Chumphon province. They later confessed that a truck transporting drugs was following them. NSB officers stopped the truck at a gas station close to Malaysian border, he said.
Full story: BenarNews
Wilawan Watcharasakwet and Mariyam Ahmad
Bangkok and Pattani, Thailand
Copyright ©2017,BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.