Army private nabbed over huge haul of drugs

Army private nabbed over huge haul of drugs

An Army private, who on Sunday allegedly tried to transport 1.6 million 'yaba' pills and 150 kilograms of crystal meth, was arrested yesterday in Phrae's Wang Chin district, police said.

The case emerged on Sunday when Private Wichai Rakkhirikhet broke away from a police checkpoint, prompting officers to give chase and shoot at a tyre of his van. Police later retrieved the large cache of drugs, a fake Army sticker and fake licence plates. Wichai managed to flee into a wooded area in Den Chai district, prompting police to surround the area and hunt him down.

Wichai was finally apprehended at another checkpoint along with his 19-year-old brother, who had picked him up on a motorcycle, Phrae police chief Pol Maj-General Panudech Boonreung said. He said this was the region's biggest haul of crystal meth, with the first one being 108kg in 2013 and 100kg early this year. Panudech said the yaba pills could be worth Bt256 million (S$10.1 million) and the crystal meth Bt300 million, adding that they had been smuggled in via Chiang Rai province.

In related news, police yesterday arrested three men along with 493kg of marijuana, worth Bt10 million, and a BMW sedan and four cellphones in Songkhla's Rattaphum district. The suspects - identified as Anan Adam, 30, Chad Nakma, 35, and Wich Wattana, 40 - were nabbed outside a restaurant as they were getting ready to transport the marijuana to a drug ring in Satun.

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