Big drug offensive planned

THE Office of the Narcotics Control Board will arrest up to 10 drug-network members a week and seize their assets as part of a nationwide offensive against drug networks, the ONCB secretary-general Permpong Chaovalit has said.

He was speaking at a press conference yesterday following the reported big success of the so-called "Expansion of Drug Trade Networks: First Round".

Joint operations by the ONCB and agencies ran from Wednesday till yesterday and targeted eight drug-trafficking networks covering 42 people of interest in 17 provinces.

The targeted networks included those run by Soros Phongkahjornsak and Sakda Lertrassamithat, who are jailed in Khao Bin Prison in Ratchaburi, and Somchai Labcharoen, who is in Ayutthaya Central Prison.

The operation resulted in the arrest of nine suspects, drug charges being filed against the three aforementioned inmates and the seizure of about Bt100 million (S$3.9 million) in assets including Bt13.79 million in cash, ONCB executive Sitthisak Kalayanapradit said.

The assets would be auctioned after final court rulings, with the money funnelled to the Narcotics Control Fund, he added.

Sitthisak said the operation marked the beginning of a host of anti-drug operations that would stop dealers from spending ill-gotten gains.

In related news, ONCB deputy chief Vittawan Sunthornkajit said recent raids at nine locations in Loei's Tha Li and Muang districts resulted in five arrests.

Vittawan said the raids stemmed from an operation last September that resulted in the arrest of two suspects and the seizure of 124.4 kilograms of marijuana and some 40,000 'yaba' pills in Loei's Phu Luang district.