BANGKOK: Thai police scored a major success in its battle against an international drug syndicate with the arrest of a Malaysian man, whom they believed played a key role in smuggling hundreds of kilogrammes of "Ice", a type of methaphetamine drugs, into Malaysia.
The Malaysian man, dubbed "Mr T" from Johor, said the authorities was also responsible for a failed attempt by his two accomplices to smuggle 282kg of "Ice" worth millions of ringgit into Malaysia via the Sadao border in March last year.
"Mr T" man was nabbed at Hatyai Airport yesterday, upon his arrival from Chiang Rai.
"The two Malaysian men who were arrested with 282 kg of "Ice" last year told the authorities that the drug (282 kg) belonged to him (Mr T) ," said the deputy commander of Thailand's Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) Maj Gen Supakit Srijantaranon in a media conference here today.
The two men, he said, had also informed the authorities that the Johor man had been facilitating between four to five successful drug smuggling attempts into Malaysia, each carrying about 100kg of "Ice" to undisclosed locations in Malaysia.
According to him, Thai police also nabbed a Thai woman and a Taiwanese man in Chiang Rai as well as a Thai woman in Chiang Mai yesterday, all believed to be members of the international drug syndicate in follow-up operations.
NSB chief Lt Gen Sommai Kongvisaisuk, who was also present during the media conference, said the police believed "Mr T" went to Chiang Rai to place an order for another consignment of drugs.
"The Malaysian man and his Thai wife ran many businesses," he said.
Meanwhile Supakit said, following the arrest of four people yesterday, the authorities confiscated about 30 million Baht in cash (about RM3.8 million) in several currencies and 20 million Baht in other assets.
Another 20 million Baht in assets was also seized from the same syndicate months ago, bringing the total cash and assets seized from this international syndicate to 70 million Baht (about RM8.8 million), he said.
He said Thai authorities received good cooperation from China and Malaysia as well as other Asean countries in gathering information about the syndicate and arresting its key members in a swoop yesterday.
More than 10 companies in southern Thailand were raided, resulting in the arrest of four people yesterday and several companies facing investigations because of their suspected links with the drug syndicate, he said.
"We are also expected to issue arrest warrant against other suspects later," he said.
Head of Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Sirinya Sitdichai said the authorities managed to dissect the inner working of the international syndicate following the arrest of two Malaysian men with 282 kg of "Ice" in March last year.
"The authorities found out that the syndicate not only trafficked drugs but also operates other businesses using money gained from the drug activities," he said, adding they would apply various laws to destroy the drugs syndicates.
Sirinya said the authorities would use various laws at their disposal from anti-money laundering, revenue and banking laws to fight the drug syndicates. - BERNAMA