Police commandos target Pai drug ring after foreigner's death
The Crime Suppression Division and local officials searched eight locations in Mae Hong Son's Pai district on Friday, targeting a suspected drug ring linked to the recent death of a foreign tourist.
Eighty-five officers took part in raids across two villages in Pai, a popular tourist destination in the northern border province.
The CSD’s Hanuman commando unit launched the operation jointly with Pai police, Border Patrol Police, local troops and civilian officials.
It followed the discovery that a group of ethnic Pai villagers were selling heroin, methamphetamine, and “ice” (crystal meth) to foreign tourists and local addicts.
The investigation was sparked by the recent death of a foreign tourist who had reportedly overdosed on heroin.
Police searched a house belonging to Somphet Suksamerphak, 41, who is suspected of involvement in the drug trade and shooting at an arresting officer.
Officers found his wife at the house but no sign of Somphet, who apparently escaped shortly before police arrived.
A search of the house discovered nothing illegal.
Police raiding a house in the same village found another suspected member of the local drug ring, a 43-year-old ethnic villager identified as Jalo.
A shotgun discovered at the house was confiscated as potential evidence.
Police said narcotics were found during searches of other locations in Pai.
Officers were also confronted and threatened by a group of local villagers, but there were no outbreaks of violence.
Colonel Pattanasak Buppasuwan, the CSD deputy commander who led the team, explained the operation and relevant legal matters to the villagers.