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Seven hill tribe armed guards of a drug caravan were shot dead by soldiers as they tried to smuggle heroin from Myanmar border to Thailand’s border of Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai province early Friday.
Before the armed encounter that broke out before dawn today, soldiers from the Pamuang Field Force were tipped off earlier yesterday that a drug caravan would use the jungle path of Mae Fa Luang to smuggle the drugs from Myanmar border town of Yoanmai.
Border soldiers were placed on alert and for patrols were heightened to intercept the drug smuggling.
A group of soldiers spotted the 10-member drug caravan at the Mae Fa Luang border adjoining the Myanmar border town of Yoanmai before dawn today.
Order was given out for the drug traffickers to stop but the armed guards opened fire.
In a 10-minute gun battle, all drug traffickers managed to escape back across the border, leaving seven of their colleagues dead with the drugs they carried in bags.
Soldiers seized assault rifles from the slain traffickers and several bags containing heroin inside.