THAILAND - The authorities are preparing to arrest suspects who have allegedly smuggled more than Bt10 billion (S$400 million) in cash earned from drug trafficking out of the country, Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday in his capacity as chairman of the government's anti-drug campaign.
"We already have some evidence," he said, adding that the Anti-Money-Laundering Office had detected more than Bt10 billion in smuggled cash, while the Provincial Police Region 5 office had tracked down more than Bt1 billion.
"We have managed to prevent the smuggling of Bt3 million in illegal drug money to date," Chalerm said.
He reiterated the government's plan to suppress the illicit drug trade by halting the transfer of laundered drug funds out of the country.
The war on drugs in other areas - including the government's drug rehabilitation programme - had already achieved its target, he said.
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) also announced this month that its target for the number of arrested drug traffickers and drug seizures had been met.
In a related development, ONCB officials arrested Jakkrit Boonpinij, 45, in Pathum Thani yesterday for possession of 1.4 million methamphetamine pills worth about Bt420 million.
Jakkrit, who has pleaded guilty, told police that he was paid Bt200,000 for each drug delivery.
"My task was to pick up parcels from a transport company behind the Talaad Thai Market and drive a pickup with those parcels to a spot somewhere on a motorway," Jakkrit said.
He claimed he did not know the real name of the person who had hired him, but said it was a woman.
According to this suspect, the drugs were delivered from Phayao. He claimed to have picked up parcels 31 times, but said not all of them contained illicit drugs.