Since January 13th, at least 600 drug dealers have been arrested in a nationwide crackdown with large amounts of drugs seized in raids. A drug dealer in Nakhon Pathom lost his life last week after he attempted to resist arrest by firing on approaching officers who returned fire. Meanwhile, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board is investigating channels of distribution for the painkilling drug diazepam or ‘Valium’ used in the deadly K Nompong cocktail while police are reporting a sudden scarcity of ketamine, the main ingredient of the substance, on the market.
The Police Commissioner himself led a series of raids on Monday leading to the arrest and interrogation of a K Nompong manufacturer in Bangkok as well as the seizure of a large quantity of illegal drugs in a raid on a luxury apartment in the centre of the city. The target of the police operation was a Taiwanese national long sought after by police and known as the ‘Lupus Taiwan’ by officers on his trail.
Thai police are still pursuing their drugs crackdown and investigation following the death of 11 people and the hospitalization of scores of others linked with the ill-fated K Nompong drug cocktail in recent weeks.
On Monday, the National Police Commissioner General Suwat Jangyodsuk himself took part in raids at a number of high-class executive apartments in the Huai Khawang, Klong Toey, Wang Thong Lang and Ratchathewi areas of Bangkok where police arrested a Taiwanese national named as Chou Yi Shen.
Taiwanese suspect, higher up the food chain, lived in a network of luxury Bangkok condominiums
Believed to be higher up in the food chain related to the sale of K Nompong and, in fact, a producer of the drug, Mr Chou has been on the police radar since a suspicious package was intercepted in October last year.
At that point, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board had detected a K Nompong drug package being mailed to a client in the United Arab Emirates from Bangkok.
First linked with K Nompong in October last year
Police identified Mr Chou from CCTV footage but had so far been unable to arrest him as he moved from apartment to apartment. He was finally nabbed on Monday morning at a luxury condominium in Ratchathewi together with a large quantity of drugs, drug-making equipment and paraphernalia.
His elusive nature had earned him the nickname among police as ‘Lupin Taiwan’.
Police chief interviewed the suspect who spoke openly about his drug distribution activities
Interviewed by General Suwat after his arrest, the suspect admitted his activities quite freely. He told police that he had travelled to Thailand eight years ago travelling on a fake passport.
He had become involved in drug distribution in Taiwan selling to foreigners there but was exposed when he ordered 280 grams of cocaine and 80 grams of marijuana on the Dark Web by American police services and fled Taiwan ahead of an arrest warrant.
He told police officers that in Bangkok he supplied both foreign and Thai customers.
Drug factory for manufacturing and distributing narcotic substances unearthed by the police raid
Police found a drug factory at the man’s apartment including 4 kg of ketamine, 376 ecstasy pills, 4 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 8 kg of heroin.
Officers also found a smaller supply of cocaine, LSD stamps and sleeping pills.
They also discovered a 9mm gun with ammunition as well as machines for sealing plastics, mixing drugs and weighing scales.
Mr Chou told police that he had a formula for mixing K Nompong on his smartphone and he regularly prepared the substance.
Ketamine drug in scarce supply say police
As the relentless crackdown continues apace, police are discovering that the drug ketamine appears to suddenly have become scarce on the market.
As part of the probe, police investigators are looking closely at both proper distribution channels for ketamine and the antidepressant diazepam, also known as Valium which is its brand name. Both drugs are also used for legitimate clinical purposes.
This intelligence was confirmed this week by Wichai Chaimongkhon, the Secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.
Probe continues into the source of diazepam in the lethal drug cocktail that took eleven lives
Mr Wichai has ordered a check on all freight coming into the kingdom labelled as medication.
Police are looking at the five companies in Thailand that are authorized to import diazepam as well as 25 firms, local pharmaceutical businesses that actually produce it here.
It is reported that the Food and Drugs Administration has also tasked the authorised importers of the substance to enhance security measures.
The police crackdown to date has seen nearly ฿9 million in drug seizures in urban centres throughout the kingdom as well as ฿200,000 in cash and ฿7 million in seized cars in addition to a haul of jewellery, motorbikes and smartphones.
At least 600 people arrested in the ongoing nationwide crackdown which began on January 13th
Nearly a tonne of cannabis has been seized as well as 2.1 kg of crystal methamphetamine.
The crackdown operation, which commenced on January 13th, has seen at least 600 people arrested, some of them already wanted on court warrants for criminal activities.
Last week, police officers gunned down a drug dealer who fired at them as they moved in to investigate his activities in what appeared to be a clandestine meeting with associates, all of whom were taken into custody in Nakhon Pathom.
The man was known as a dealer of the K Nompong drug cocktail. He was named as 41-year-old Wasan Khiaohom also known as Ple Kampangsaen.
Police found he was carrying one sachet of K Nompong, 40 ecstasy pills as well as the 9mm handgun which he drew on police and fired as he exited a pickup at the scene.