By KWANHATAI MALAIKARN,
A junior police officer yesterday confessed to having delivered illicit narcotics for drug traffickers over the past two years, saying each delivery earned him about Bt1 million.
“Sometimes, I was paid as much as Bt2.2 million,” Pol Snr Sgt-Major Manas Suapho told the police yesterday.
Manas, who works as a full-time police officer at the Bangkok-based Prachachuen Police Station, was speaking after he surrendered and promised to cooperate fully with the investigation.
The rogue officer initially went on the run after one of his accomplices, Thiti Pengsuk, was arrested on Sunday for possessing 1.28 million methamphetamine tablets and 5 kilograms of “ice” or crystal methamphetamine.
“All the money I earned from delivering drugs has gone into my house and my cars,” he said.
Police have confiscated Manas’s house, condo, four cars, gold jewellery, two motorcycles, land-title deeds as well as cash in his bank accounts. These assets were worth about Bt20.61million. Police also seized Bt4.8 million worth of assets from Thiti.
According to police records, more than Bt77 million has been seized from the drug gang Manas was allegedly involved with, including accomplices Sathit and Buakhai Saenglah, Prathin and Suchada Tuaipa, as well as Rapin and Suthep Khamfaeng.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said this was the first time that a policeman has been found involved in a big drug-trafficking case.
“We will take harsh action if any policemen are found involved in the drug trade. The supervisor will also face investigation to determine if he failed to properly oversee his subordinates,” Chalerm said.
Police spokesman Maj-General Piya Uthayo said national police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew had ordered that supervisors be held responsible for negligence of duty.
However, Pol Lt-Colonel Narongchai Noisri, a deputy superintendent at the Prachachuen Police Station, said Manas had not demonstrated any suspicious behaviour.
“He did not seem to lead a luxurious lifestyle and even borrowed money from his colleagues. He also sought loans from a police cooperative and the Government Savings Bank,” Narongchai said, adding that Manas usually rode a motorcycle to work.
“He drove a BMW sometimes, but when we asked him he said it belonged to a relative,” Narongchai said.
Separately, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lt-General Khamronwit Toopkrajang said he had instructed his deputy, Maj-General Thitiraj Nongharnpitak, to investigate this case carefully and try to nail down all culprits including the big boss of this major drug-trafficking network.
According to Manas, his colleague Prawin Tuaipa had talked him into delivering drugs.
“We used to take delivery orders from ‘Je Pen’, but we don’t know her real name,” Manas said, adding that he usually had to pick up drugs in Chiang Rai and drive the shipment down to Bangkok.
“The drugs came from a man called Hia Jai in Myanmar,” Manas said, adding that he had never taken sick leave to make these deliveries. “I only did this during my free time,” he said.