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Soldiers and drug runners clash at Golden Triangle

A GUNFIGHT broke out between soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force backed by the Mekong River Operation Unit and a group of drug traffickers at the Thai side of the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai province last night leading to a large amount of drugs being seized, Naewna newspaper said today (Jan. 12).

Some soldiers were patrolling the Thai border along the Ruak river that flows into Mekong river at the Golden Triangle borderline with Myanmar’s Tachilek province at 11 p.m. when saw many suspects wading across the river from Myanmar carrying heavy loads of goods towards Sop Ruak village in Wiang subdistrict, Chiang Saen district.

They signalled them to stop but the suspects instead dashed back to the Myanmar bank and while doing so fired at the Thai soldiers triggering a shootout.

Fortunately no soldiers were injured in the gunfight and found in this area afterwards was a straw sack heavily loaded with drugs.

Stacked within were 1.2 million methamphetamine pills, two packets of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) in tea bags weighing two kilogrammes, and 80 packets of ketamine, weighing about 80 kilogrammes. 

Also seized were a modified M16 rifle and a shotgun.

Subsequently, Maj. Gen. Narit Thawornwong, commander of Pha Muang Task Force, together with Col. Suthiket Srinithin, commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Task Force, visited the area to investigate the incident.

Maj. Gen. Narit said the Pha Muang Task Force had launched a stringent drug suppression operation in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces over the past three months from Oct. 1 to the present day. This has led to 47 drug seizures with 53 suspects arrested. Collectively seized were over 12 million meth pills, 36,000 grammes of heroin, two kilogrammes of Ice and 80 kilogrammes of ketamine.


The drugs seized in the gunfight last night and senior officers of the Pha Muang Task Force inspecting the area. Photos: Naewna

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