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B65m assets seized from prison inmate’s drug network

Office of the Narcotics Control Board secretary-general Sirinya Sitdhichai (second left) and senior officials display some of the valuables seized from the drug network on Wednesday, at a media briefing in Chiang Rai. (Photo by Chinpat Chaimon)

Assets worth about 65 million baht have been seized from the drug network run from behind bars by an imprisoned gang boss, and five more suspects arrested during raids in three provinces.

Officers from the  Narcotics Control Board, assisted by soldiers and local officials, raided five locations in the northern province of Chiang Rai on Wednesday and confiscated assets owned by jailed drug trafficker Warayut Saeng-arun.

Three premises were also entered in Chon Buri and one in Samut Prakan province.

Forty-seven items worth an estimated 65 million baht in total were seized. They included nine houses, title deeds for four blocks of land, 10 cars, 11 motorcycles, two guns, gold bars and ornaments worth 1.6 million baht and 1.8 million baht cash. 

Five suspects were detained – three men and two women.  They were identified as Pairat Sakulpuek, 33, Somchai Chansap, 37, both from Chon Buri, Jakhue Kaosee, 30, Ms Nasu Leesa, 29, and Ms Suwalee Kheerayakul, 22, from Chiang Rai.

Some of them were named in court arrest warrants. They allegedly acted as go-betweens in drug deals arranged by inmates of Rayong Central Prison.

The coordinated raids were organised after officials at Rayong Central Prison discovered some drug inmates were still arranging drug deals. Prison authorities and the ONCB jointly investigated and found that Warayut, a major drug trafficker held at Khao Bin Central Prison in Ratchaburi, and another drug inmate were behind the dealings. 

ONCB secretary-general Sirinya Sitdhichai said during a media briefing on Wednesday that the expanded  investigation led to the seizure of the assets and the arrest of the five suspects on Wednesday.

Mr Sirinya said there were four major drug trafficking gangs with 60 networks across the country. Of these, the ONCB and similar agencies had so far broken up  the operations of 20 of these networks and seized  their assets.  Last year, some 1.4 billion baht worth of assets of drug traffickers had been seized.

The ONCB would continue its operation this year to bring drug traffickers and those behind this illegal trade to task, he said.

Officials raid a house of an alleged member of a drug network linked to a jail big-time drug trafficker.  A sign outside the gate announces the house has been seized. (Photo by Chinpat Chaimon)

Cash and other valuables seized during raids on nine premises in three provinces. (Photo by Chinpat Chaimon)