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6.4 million methamphetamine tablets seized along Thai/Laos border

Drug surveillance Mekong river Thailand
PHOTO: Drug surveillance Mekong river Thailand - Bangkok Post

Last night, the Royal Thai Navy’s Mekong River patrol unit and paramilitary rangers successfully seized approximately 6.4 million methamphetamine tablets from a boat on the Mekong River in the Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai province, in far north Thailand.

Acting on a tipoff, the authorities were informed that drugs were being smuggled into Thailand from Myanmar, prompting the dispatch of a patrol boat to monitor the Mekong River near the Golden Triangle.

The Pha Muang Task Force, composed of naval officers and paramilitary rangers, spotted a boat with two men onboard and ordered them to stop for a search. However, the two suspects jumped into the river and managed to escape before the authorities could apprehend them. The patrol unit then towed the boat ashore and discovered 32 bags on board, containing a staggering amount of methamphetamine tablets.

Thailand is currently flooded with cheap meth tablets, or ‘yaba’, in some locations costing as little, or less, than 10 baht each.

Drug trafficking has been a significant issue in the Mekong River region, particularly around the Golden Triangle – the region where the Thai, Laos and Myanmar borders intersect.

This area is notorious for being a major hub for drug production and trafficking, as it is located at the intersection of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, where a large portion of the world’s methamphetamine is produced. Criminal organisations take advantage of the region’s remote location and porous borders to transport drugs across the river and into neighbouring countries, including Thailand, for onward trafficking and transportation.

The think-canopy and vigorous jungles of the area provide an almost impenetrable barrier for effected policing and monitoring, with many of the drug ‘gangs’ setting up mobile meth labs that can be easily moved if threatened by surveillance.

To combat drug trafficking in the region, the authorities have ramped up their efforts to monitor and patrol the Mekong River. The Royal Thai Navy’s Mekong River patrol unit is one of several organisations tasked with this mission, and they have been successful in intercepting drug shipments in the past. However, drug trafficking remains a persistent problem, and criminal organizations continue to find new ways to smuggle drugs into the region.

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