By KHANATHIT SRIHIRANDEJ,
POLICE yesterday announced the arrest of 16 suspects in five drug busts in which more than 3.5 million ‘yaba’ pills and 28 kilograms of crystal meth, or ‘ice’, with a street value of over Bt800 million, were seized.
Speaking at a press conference at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Bangkok, Maj-General Pornchai Charoenwong, head of the bureau’s Division 3, said Bancha Poungchim, 38, was arrested for allegedly possessing 995,800 ‘yaba’ pills at a gas station in Chon Buri’s Muang district last Tuesday.
In the second case, Seri Watanapakornkij, 49, was arrested last Wednesday when 1,930,000 ‘yaba’ pills and 26.45kg of ‘ice’ was allegedly found at his home in Nonthaburi’s Sai Noi district. The property was opened as a spirit medium’s house as a cover-up, Pornchai said.
Police had been watching Seri and allegedly witnessed him and three or four accomplices move narcotics into the house.
Seri was arrested but the others fled. Arrest warrants have been issued for those who fled.
In the third case, six suspects – Suchat Kalkasikij, 44, Abdul-ashi Wansoh, 28, Atnan Piru, 27, Hamdi Bangosata, 25, Nutfi Masaejahaen, 27, and Masamri Kasen, 22 – were arrested for allegedly being in possession of 321,800 ‘yaba’ pills and 2kg of ‘ice’, hidden in a secret compartment in a modified pick-up.
Early last month, Suchat was arrested at a checkpoint in Lampang’s Mae Phrik district while allegedly transporting the drugs to a buyer in Nonthaburi and led police to the others.
Lastly, six suspects – Seri Islam, 40, Watcharapol Jongrak, 29, Jenwit Phetcharat, 29, Somkid Rakleng, 54, Rutchiroj Lempan, 27, and Kittira Wannacharoen, 32 – were arrested for allegedly being in possession of 200,000 ‘yaba’ pills, a pistol and 14 bullets in Phatthalung’s Khuan Khanun district last Tuesday, Maj-General Thanongsak Thangthong, head of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau’s Division 1, said.
All suspects were charged with having narcotics in their possession with the intent to sell, while Rutchiroj also faces additional gun-related charges.
In related news, Rayong police yesterday arrested garage owner Siamrath Suwankut, 35 and his brother Thassana, 31 along with 171,400 ‘yaba’ pills and three kilograms of ‘ice’, three pistols, three gun magazines, 15 bullets, and two cars.
A police investigation found that Siamrath and Thassana had opened the garage two months ago in Nikhom Pattana district, where they also stored the illicit drugs for a Pathum Thani drug gang in exchange for Bt300,000 per time. The duo reportedly confessed to having done it once before they were nabbed. Siamrath told police he kept the drug so his brother could drop it off at a spot on Rayong-Krathing Lai Road for the gang. Police found 4,000 pills at the garage and the rest at Siamrath’s home.