Border patrol police were tipped off that a foreign drug gang would deliver speed pills across the Mekong river from Laos to Ban Kham Tao in tambon Kham Tao of Muang Nakhon Phanom district on Saturday night, Thai Rath online reported.
A surveillance team was set up at the area to make the arrest, Pol Lt Col Tawee Sarakarn, commander of the 236nd Border Patrol Police Unit, told a news conference Sunday.
The team saw a man navigating a long-tailed boat across the river and dock on the Thai side. The man left a gas cylinder on the shore and sped away.
Police moved in to inspect the canister and found 77,671 speed pills hidden inside. The cylinder’s top part had been modified to hide the drug, Pol Lt Col Tawee said.
The officer said it was the first time anti-drug police had seized illegal drugs hidden inside a gas cylinder. He believed drug smugglers had begun using cylinders as they were easy to transport without drawing attention. Police will step up measures to deal with new methods of drug smuggling from neighbouring countries, Pol Lt Col Tawee said.