A NARCOTICS Suppression Bureau policeman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a drug trafficker who was likewise shot dead with another policeman injured in a car chase in Chaing Rai province yesterday (Sep. 19) that ended with around 5-6 million methamphetamine pills plus some crystal methamphetamine (Ice) being seized, TV Channel 7 said this morning.
A Facebook user named Sirikhwaun Malidong posted a message and photos of the clash that occurred during a crackdown on a drug trafficking gang.
This followed a tip-off received by Pol. Maj. Gen. Khomsit Rangsai, head of Narcotics Suppression third division, that a large amount of drugs is going to be smuggled from Mae Yao subdistrict, Mueang Chiang Rai district, to a secondary road in Wiang Chai district to move the drugs further inland.
He then sent Pol. Lt. Col. Weerasak Rattanaprayoon to lead a team in chasing the criminals.
Police laid in wait at this secondary road and when they spotted a suspicious sedan driven by a sole drug trafficker they followed it. However the drug runner soon realised he was being chased so turned into an alley behind Wiang Chai fresh market but as this is a deadend, he turned and drove out through Wiang Chai-Wiang Chiang Rung road.
However, as the exit is just 30 metres from Wiang Chai district office and police station, the police team alerted their colleagues who blocked the way out.
The sole drug trafficker still refused to surrender and fired at the policemen and hit some of their vehicles as well as a shop in an attempt to flee but then crashed into a power pole. Even though he could no longer drive on he opened fire at the police team and in the minute-long gunfight both him and a policeman were killed.
The drug trafficker was later identified as Mr. Chanoi (surname withheld), 51, a resident of Chai Prakan district, Chiang Mai, and beside him was a 9mm pistol.
Killed was Pol.Sgt. Wirawat Khamdee while Pol. Lt. Wipoo Phanpim was injured and rushed to the hospital.
Seized from the sedan were 30 blue sacks with each containing approximately 200,000 methamphetamine tablets, totalling around 5-6 million pills, and some crystal methamphetamine (Ice) with the exact total still being counted.
Scenes from last night’s gunfight between a police team and a drug trafficker. Photos: TV Channel 7