Nine arrested with 3m yaba pills

Police have arrested nine men with a total of three million methamphetamine pills, or yaba, being smuggled south from northern Loei province, Chalerm Yubamrong, director of the centre for suppression of narcotics, said.

Police set up a surveilance operation after learning a load of methamphetamine pills would be moved from the border area in Loei province to Ayutthaya over the weekend.

They identified five suspicious vehicles, four pickup trucks and one car, traveling on the route. Police managed to stop the vehicles at different spots in Phetchaboon’s Muang and Khao Kho districts and Phrae’s Den Chai district.

In one pickup truck, police found 15 sacks stuffed with a total of three million yaba pills, with an approximate  street value of up to 900 million baht (calculated at 300 baht a pill). The vehicles and several mobile phones were also seized.

The nine suspects are Kornthong Leesailert, 26; Saeng Yangrungrojcherd, 24; Veerayuth Lertwaleesilp, 27; Amarin Lespitakpharadorn, 33; somchai Waranyanukul, 38; Somporn Sae Lor, 28; Somsak Sae Song, 20; Veerasak Sahacharoenchai, 20; and Songchai Sae Ma, 21.

The suspects confessed that they had transported drugs four times before, the last time on Feb 19-20, he said on Sunday.

Pongsapat Pongcharoen, secretary-general of Office of the Narcotics Control Board, said the packaging has the diamond brand, which has not been seen for over 10 years.

Mr Pongsapat  suspected the methamphetamine came small factory under the control of drug kingpin Lt Col Yi Se, leader of an armed Muser group in Myanmar.

Police will tighten monitoring of border areas in the Northeast because smuggling through the northern border seems to have declined, he said.

It is believed that small drug factories were being set up in Laos and the drugs smuggled into Thailand via Nong Khan, Mukdahan and Loei.

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