Nationwide blitz on 2,523 locations leads to 132 arrests as PM Srettha Thavisin spearheads the fight against drug networks. Despite his efforts, drug prices remain stable. Govt vows stronger action in the ongoing war against narcotics.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was personally involved on Thursday as a huge nationwide drug sweep descended on 2,523 locations throughout the country, leading to 132 arrests. The operations were linked to a massive onslaught on drug distribution networks that has been pushed by the current government since October 2023. Since then, arrests for drug dealing have risen by 41%. Nonetheless, later on Thursday and Friday in the northeast supervising a drug rehabilitation centre, PM Srettha noted that the price of drugs in the market remains stable. Certainly, the country has a long way to go to defeat the menace.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Thursday at the Royal Thai Police Operations Centre received a report on the nationwide early morning blitz. Hundreds were arrested while large amounts of drugs and assets were seized. All of Thailand’s police services worked on the operation in unison. Since October 2023, a campaign pushed by the present government has seen 41% more drug arrests (Source: Government House)

This week, embattled Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin received reports from police top brass on a massive nationwide drugs crackdown, which was launched in the early hours of Thursday morning.

It came the day after the Prime Minister chaired an important meeting of the Police Commission.

Significantly, that meeting confirmed an April 18th order to remove high-profile Deputy Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn.

132 suspects were arrested in an early morning nationwide blitz which saw 2,523 locations raided across the country starting at 5 am. PM in the hot seat

The Thursday blitz targeted 2,523 different locations throughout the kingdom. It kicked off at 5 am and led to the arrest of 132 suspects. Police forces carried with them 1,617 arrest warrants linked to drug networks.

Mr Srettha received a briefing at the operations centre of the Royal Thai Police from Deputy Chief Police General Kittirat Phanphet.

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The massive operation was coordinated by Police Major General Samran Nuanma of the Narcotics Suppression Operations Centre.

Notably, in Thursday’s operations, ฿327 million in assets were seized. In addition, a huge quantity of illegal drugs was found. For example, 4.9 million speed pills, 73.4 kg of heroin, 590 kg of crystal methamphetamine, 1.2 kg of ketamine, and 45,339 Ecstasy pills.

In total, 846 different drug networks were targeted by police agencies.

Srettha expressed concern for officers after hearing that 196 firearms were seized in the operation which targeted no less than 846 different drug networks

The Prime Minister was particularly concerned to hear that police had seized 196 firearms in the raid. He urged officers linked with ongoing suppression efforts to take care.

Prime Minister Srettha and advisors received a briefing by Zoom from senior officers in the field.

Later on Thursday, he visited the northeast for an extended visit. Afterwards, in Nan province at an addiction treatment centre, he emphasised that the government aims to rehabilitate unfortunate people addicted to drugs.

The huge police operation on Thursday involved all Provincial Police divisions, the Metropolitan Police Bureau, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB), and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

In conclusion, Prime Minister Srettha told officers to continue their hard work. He specifically urged police agencies to cooperate and share information. At the same time, he reassured them of full government support for their efforts. The suppression of illicit drugs is a top priority for the present government.

‘It is crucial for officials from the administration, military, and police to work in unity. Don’t work separately; share information regularly and discuss problems in meetings. We need to work harder and set more challenging goals. If there’s a shortage of equipment or manpower in any area, let us know. The government is ready to provide full support,’ Mr Srettha said.

81,455 people were taken into custody from October 1st 2023 to June 26th in an intensive and ongoing police crackdown on Thailand’s chronic drug problem

Across Thailand’s 76 provinces since October 2023, after the government took power, tens of thousands of small drug dealers have been detained.

Indeed, that figure is 81,455 people taken into detention. Certainly, it is a dramatic jump from last year of 41%. 40% of the cases are small to medium-sized operators, while 60% of the operations targeted are classified as large drug distributors.

At the same time, authorities have seized ฿8.6 billion in funds from the thriving drug trade. The 9-month campaign, however, is still not considered successful.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Thursday admitted that the market price of drug products remains stable.

In short, this indicates no real disruption to the supply. A large proportion of these drugs are coming from the lawless Golden Triangle area at the confluence of Thailand’s borders with Burma, Laos, and China.

Certainly, the northern province of Chiang Mai led the way when it came to illicit drug seizures.

23,949 criminal prosecutions initiated

The crackdown has seen 23,949 criminal cases launched. Meanwhile, drug seizures have been consequently enormous—for instance, 739 million methamphetamine pills.

At the same time, there were 3,050 suspected drug dealers arrested on foot of warrants.

In pursuit of the drug trade, the government is targeting the country’s borders both on land, at airports, and sea terminals.

Mr Srettha made this clear.

‘Therefore, I urge you to continue working diligently. Once targets are set, raise them higher to create more challenges. Work every day, emphasising border areas which are major points of drug influx,’ the PM declared.

Crackdown at airports as Customs Department announces arrests and seizures including an African woman flying in from Nairobi with ingested cocaine

Even the Ministry of Finance has been galvanised. Deputy Minister of Finance Julapun Amornvivat is the top official at the Customs Department, which is working closely with the Immigration Bureau.

Eight days ago on June 21st, a South African woman was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport. She had consumed cocaine packages in her body worth ฿1.245 million.

The woman landed on a flight from Nairobi and is linked to African drug gangs engaged in both prostitution and drug distribution in Thailand.

A day later, on June 22nd, the problem with exports of drugs to other countries was additionally tackled.

Methamphetamine was found concealed in a snack and milk powder consignment to South Korea. In short, there were 13,850 pink and green pills hidden in a number of packets. Their street market value was ฿415,500.

Four days later, a Thai woman was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

She was flying to Malé-Velana International Airport in the Maldives.

The woman had 2 kg of methamphetamine concealed in grey and black plastic bags. These were, in turn, concealed in a wheeled passenger case. The value of the drugs on the streets was ฿2 million.

Marijuana trade is also implicated with bud exports

Significantly, while the Minister of Public Health Somsak Thepsutin proceeds to outlaw marijuana or cannabis products used for recreational use, there is evidence that the commercial trade in Thailand now extends to the exports of illegal narcotics.

Earlier in June, from June 7th to 21st, in three different discoveries, customs officers found marijuana concealed in various products.

The cannabis flower buds used for recreational use were hidden in domestic-type products. These included inflatables, boxing equipment and adult diapers.

The marijuana was being sent to Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

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