Thai authorities foil attempt to smuggle large amount of drugs to Kedah

BANGKOK: An attempt to smuggle 81kg of "Ice" and 200,000 "Yaba" pills to Kedah was foiled by Thai authorities who mounted a joint security agencies operation in popular southern town, Hatyai several days ago.

According to the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) chief Sirinya Sitdichai, five local men from Narathiwat province in southern Thailand were arrested in the swoop in Hatyai on Nov 8.

"The suspects told the investigators, they were paid RM80,000 to smuggle and hand over the drugs to a syndicate member in Kedah," he told the media today, adding that the drugs were found stashed inside a pick-up truck registered in Narathiwat.

He said the drugs would be transported to Australia after arriving in Kedah, where it will fetch a higher price in the black market.

The arrested men also told the investigators that they had successfully smuggled drugs to Kedah from Rattapoom district in Songkhla province two times before this, before failing on their third attempt.

The Thai authorities are currently liaising with their Malaysian counterparts to expand the investigation, especially on their hunt for the syndicate's mastermind, he said.

Sirinya said the Thai authorities had been tailing the syndicate members since October when the drugs were in northern Thailand before making the way down to the southern provinces.

Asked if the drug syndicate had any connection with the notorious southern Thai drug lord called "Usman Salamaeng", the ONCB's chief said they were still compiling more information about the matter.

He also said one of the five men arrested has a history of involvement with southern Thailand's militant activities, but did not furnish further details. — Bernama