Less than a week after the Justice Ministry discussed decriminalizing yaba amphetamine pills, national police made three huge amphetamine busts and confiscated drugs with a combined street value of THB 1.6 billion.
Justice Minister Paiboon Kumchaya recently suggested that yaba should be decriminalized so that users are more likely to seek help. But this idea was met with much opposition.
The first arrests were made by the crime suppression force, drug enforcement agency and military. They arrested three people who were accepting a large delivery of drugs at a Nonthaburi department store. Sarawut Kasenbua, 25, Narongsak Sombun, 25, and Patama Hormloei, 29 were busted with 2,090,000 yaba pills, 52 kilos of crystal meth (ice), and 50 kilos of ketamine.
They admitted this was their second time taking part in a big drug deal and were paid THB400,000 each time. An investigation is ongoing to find the other people involved.
The second case involved a drug gang whose members escaped arrest after a shootout with Suphanburi cops. Over 800,000 yaba pills had arrived from Chiang Rai when the gang realized they were about to get busted and began shooting. An officer was shot and one police vehicle damaged in the gang’s escape. Their car was found later with the yaba pills inside but gang members were gone.
The third case was of two men arrested after being involved in a sting operation as they tried to sell 100,000 yaba pills in the Hot district of Chiang Mai. Padaedu Sribaina, 30, and Chalerm Mettho, 26, were arrested and the pills confiscated.
Police have stated that they will continue to pursue drugs dealers and cases with all of their force. Amphetamines continue to be widely misused and imported from nearby countries, reported Thai News Agency.
We may have lost the war on drugs, as Justice Minister Paiboon said, but it sounds like the police are not going to roll over the play dead in the face of the nation’s growing amphetamine problems.