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A series of undercover operations led Pol Lt Col Jaran Bangprasert of the narcotics suppression police and his team to arrest Uten Wantong last night at 7.30pm on charges of possession of methamphetamine.
Uten admitted the charge and then gave police invaluable information that allowed them to catch two people much further up the drug supply chain, and seize more than 4,000 pills from a major drug dealers on the island.
Using the information, they contacted Uten’s dealer and arranged to buy a bag of 10 meth pills (ya bah) from him for B2,000. A meeting was arranged at the PTT gas station near Wichit municipality office on Chao Fa East Rd.
After the police staked out the gas station, a Toyota Vigo pickup truck rolled in and the “buyers” received a coded call: “It’s time to pick up your kid from Thai Hua School.”
The officers moved in and arrested the occupants of the truck, Nucharee Puttha, 36, and Anupong Suwanmart, 27, both from Mae Sai in Chiang Rai. They seized two bags, each containing 10 meth pills and also the two people’s mobile phones.
The police then took them to their house in Soi Song Koon in Chalong, where they uncovered another 4,210 pills.
Nucharee confessed that she have been dealing drugs for about a year and that Anupong was her supplier.
Anupong admitted that he has been in the narcotics business for more than 10 years, and for the past four years he had been working as a drug courier, bringing both pills and crystal meth from the north of Thailand, initially to Nakhon Sawan but more recently to Phuket.
He explained that four years ago he met a man named Daeng from Chiang Rai, who introduced him to a drug agent in Mai Sai, who was a leader of the Black Muser hilltribe.
Anupong started transporting the drugs for him, taking consignments to a man in Nakhon Sawan he named as Ko Lieng. Typically he would carry 50-100 packets of pills and as much as five kilos of crystal meth concealed in his truck.
He would be paid between B200,000 and B600,000 a trip, he said. Sometimes he would be paid in product.
Anupong said he moved to Phuket last year and decided to deal drugs as well as transporting them. He contacted Ko Lieng to buy ya bah to sell in Phuket but a customer cheated him, and Ko Lieng could not sell him any more at that time, so he found a dealer in Chiang Mai who could.
On July 26 he was hired to transport almost 2.9 million pills and 20 kilos of ice to Ko Lieng’s son in Nakhon Sawan.
He was paid in product – 6,000 pills in three packets. He hid two of the packets at Nucharee’s house. It was from one of these that he took the 10 pills to sell to the undercover police.
Anupong and Nucharee were both charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell.