900kg of Crystal Meth Seized From Boat Bound for Australia

Law enforcement officials have arrested six narcotics traffickers and seized 909 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, suspected to be en route to Australia, from a fishing boat located south of Koh Samet in the Gulf of Thailand.

This seizure was the peak of a four-month-long operation, initiated by an intelligence brief from the National Security Council (NSC), conveyed Wichai Chaimongkhon, the secretary-general of the Narcotics Control Board (NCB).

The NSC had obtained information that global drug dealers were employing medium-sized fishing boats to transport batches of methamphetamine and heroin, roughly a tonne in weight, to a sizable vessel stationed in the heart of the Gulf.

These exchanges occurred in international waters, a zone beyond the jurisdiction of Thai law enforcement.

A unique task force was established by the NCB, in partnership with the Naval Special Warfare Command, also known as the SEALs. This force spent four months surveilling the suspected traffickers’ operations, revealed Mr Wichai.

This week, on Tuesday, task force members keeping surveillance in Rayong observed the trawler’s crew loading empty stainless steel barrels, fuel, and food.

At 8.45 pm in the evening, a white pickup truck arrived, and the crew loaded several hefty sacks of fertilizer onto the trawler, which then departed from the coast.

The team commenced pursuit of the boat and managed to intercept it south of Koh Samet in Rayong province, roughly 20 nautical miles offshore.

Six individuals were detained, and 909 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine were seized, disclosed Mr Wichai in a press conference held on Thursday at the NCB headquarters in the Din Daeng district of Bangkok.

Subsequent to the arrests, the authorities conducted searches in seven locations — five in Rayong and two in Bangkok.

The search led to the confiscation of one fishing trawler, six vehicles, two motorcycles, bank account books, ATM cards, and other assets totaling at least 5.2 million baht in value.

The officers also inspected a leased residence in Rayong that was used as a storage facility for the narcotics. Numerous empty fertilizer sacks were discovered there.

Upon interrogation, the suspects confessed to transporting the drugs from Bangkok to the fishing trawler in Rayong. Additionally, a bag of ketamine, meant for the crew’s personal consumption, was found on board the vessel.

One of the arrested individuals, who owned the boat, indicated that the confiscated narcotics were poised to be transferred to a large vessel destined for Australia.

Mr Wichai indicated that the NCB plans to extend the investigation to confiscate the assets of everyone associated with this smuggling operation.