6 June 2024

Smuggling of methamphetamine, or “yaa baa”, from Myanmar into Thailand has increased significantly in recent weeks, because anti-junta ethnic forces’ need for money to fund their efforts, according to Thai military resources.

On Monday alone, Thai military, the police and anti-narcotics officials seized about 15 million meth tablets in separate incidents in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phitsanuloke provinces.

In Phitsanuloke, anti-narcotics officers seized a ten-wheel truck, with an Uttaradit licence plate, two cars and two vans at farm products yard in Wat Bot district. Six men were taken into custody.

The authorities found about eight million meth pills in the truck.

In Chiang Mai province, troops from the Third Army Region stumbled on a group of six men, carrying backpacks, as they were trekking along the Thai border, in Piang Luang sub-district of Wiang Haeng district, on Monday night.

The men then opened fire at the troops, triggering a brief gunfight, before they fled into Myanmar.  The troops waited until sunrise and combed the area, where they found six abandoned backpacks, each containing 200,000 meth pills.

In Chiang Rai province, troops from the Pa Muang Task Force and narcotic suppression officers followed a pickup truck and a sedan, both suspected to be involved in drug trafficking, from the border in Mae Fah Luang district to a rendezvous in Muang district, where the officials decided to make the arrests.

They found 31 sacks containing about six million meth tablets in the truck.

General Narit Thawornwong, commander of the narcotic drugs interdiction task force, said that the drug shipment was about to be sent to Lampang, for temporary storage, before being distributed to other provinces.

He said that a substantial amount of illegal narcotics, yaa baa in particular, have been smuggled into northern Thailand from Myanmar because of the escalating fighting there.