Four suspected drug traffickers have been arrested in a major crackdown on the biggest multinational crystal methamphetamine trafficking network in Thailand.
The network has laundered their ill-gotten gains in 16 businesses in the South, including a hotel and entertainment venues, Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) deputy chief Pol Maj-General Supakij Srichannon said yesterday.
"We will investigate further to bring all culprits to justice," he said.
More than 10 agencies including the NSB, the Department of Special Investigation and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, have joined forces to search 54 locations in nine provinces, before arresting four suspected drug traffickers, including two foreigners.
The arrested include Chang Mi Hsu, a Taiwanese man, Tun Hun Serong, a Malaysian, and two Thai women - Wiparat Karndee and Wanlaphan Petchpong. More than Bt70 million worth of their assets were seized.
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Deputy national police Commissioner General Chalermkiat Sriworakhan told a press conference that authorities had planned the crackdown following information provided by two Malaysian drug suspects who were arrested in Songkhla last year with 282 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.
"The illicit drug was smuggled into Thailand's North and then moved to the South for export to Malaysia," Supakij said.
He added that the ongoing investigation suggested the network had handled hundreds of kilos of crystal methamphetamine per delivery.
NSB chief Pol Lt-General Sommai Kongwisai said the network's cash flow was in the tens of billions of baht.
"The network involves both Thais and foreigners from across various occupations," he said.
He added that the network also had links to alleged Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha, who lived a high-profile and extravagant life until his arrest at Suvarnabhumi Airport in January.
Sommai said there was clear evidence that some entertainment figures were involved in Xaysana's network. "They will have to go to jail," he said.
Following Xaysana's arrest, famous biker Akarakit "Benz Racing" Worarojcharoendet was charged with money laundering as evidence suggested he might have helped Xaysana whitewash his ill-gotten gains.
Akarakit's actress wife, Napapa Tantrakul, has also been questioned as authorities sought to determine whether she had been involved.