500 million baht seized from suspected drug kingpin in Phitsanuloke
Police seized more than 500 million baht in assets from the owner of a gold shop in Thailand’s northern province of Phitsanuloke province on Saturday.
The seizure of assets and the arrest of Mr. Panthanan Apichaithanatip, son of Nanthapan, the 83 year old owner of the Saengprom gold shop in Muang district of Phitsanuloke, was part of a series of coordinated raids on eight targets in Phitsanuloke and Chiang Rai provinces.
About 100 anti-narcotic officials and police were involved in the raids, which were led by Pol Gen Suchart Thirasawat, the deputy police chief.
Pol Gen Suchart said that the operation was the result of an intensive investigation, following the October 10th arrests of four men and the seizure of 1.2 million methamphetamine pills in Mae Chan district of Chiang Rai.
The suspects reportedly implicated Mr. Panthanan and arrest warrants were obtained from the provincial court for both Panthanan and Nanthapan.
The assets seized include 28 million baht’s worth of gold ornaments at the gold shop, four apartments worth about 200 million baht, 21.76 hectares of land worth about 155 million baht and ten shop-houses worth about 50 million baht.
The deputy police chief said that Nanthapan started his gold shop business about 15 years ago and then diversified into real estate, raising eyebrows among other gold traders in the province due to the unusually rapid expansion of his business and increase in wealth.
Pol Col Thawatchai Pongwiwatchai, deputy commander of 5th Provincial Police Bureau, alleges that Nanthapan obtained drugs directly from a trafficker, identified as Lamoon sae Jang, who lives in Myanmar.