BANGKOK, Apr 21 – Thai police scored a major success in their battle against an international drug syndicate with the arrest of a Malaysian man, whom they believed played a key role in smuggling hundreds of kg of “ice”, a type of methaphetamine drug into Malaysia.
The Malaysian man, dubbed “Mr T” from Johor was also responsible for a failed attempt by his two accomplices to smuggle 282kg of “ice” worth millions of ringgit into Malaysia via the Sadao border in March last year.
“Mr T” was nabbed at Hatyai airport yesterday, upon his arrival from Chiang Rai.
“The two Malaysian men who were arrested with 282kg of ‘ice’ last year told the authorities that the drugs (282kg) belonged to him (Mr T),” said the deputy commander of Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) Maj Gen Supakit Srijantaranon in a media conference here yesterday.
The two men, he said, also informed the authorities that the Johor man had been facilitating four to five successful drug smuggling attempts into Malaysia, each carrying about 100kg of “ice” to undisclosed locations in the country.
According to him, Thai police also nabbed a Thai woman and a Taiwanese man in Chiang Rai, as well as a Thai woman in Chiang Mai yesterday, all believed to be members of the international drug syndicate, in follow-up operations.
NSB chief Lt Gen Sommai Kongvisaisuk, who was also present during the media conference, said the police believed “Mr T” went to Chiang Rai to place an order for another consignment of drugs.
“The Malaysian man and his Thai wife ran many businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Supakit said following the arrest of four people yesterday, the authorities confiscated about 30 million baht in cash (about RM3.8 million) in several currencies and 20 million baht in other assets.
Another 20 million baht in assets was seized from the same syndicate months ago, bringing the total cash and assets seized from this international syndicate to 70 million baht (about RM8.8 million), he said.
According to him, Thai authorities received cooperation from China and Malaysia as well as other Asean countries in gathering information about the syndicate and arresting its key members yesterday.
More than 10 companies in southern Thailand were raided, resulting in the arrest of the four. Several companies are facing investigations because of their suspected links with the drug syndicate, he said.
“We are also expected to issue arrest warrants against other suspects later.”
Head of the Office of Narcotics Control Board, Sirinya Sitdichai, said the authorities had managed to dissect the inner workings of the international syndicate following the arrest of two Malaysian men with 282kg of “ice” last March.
“The authorities found out that the syndicate not only trafficked drugs but also operates other businesses using money gained from the drug activities,” he said, adding that they would apply various laws to destroy the syndicate.
According to Sirinya, such laws included anti-money laundering, revenue and banking laws.