Thai anti-narcotic officials have warned that the country may be facing a flood of drugs in the near future. There are millions of methamphetamine pills, or 'ya ba' currently stored in many secret spots along Thailand's northern border, which are waiting to be smuggled into Thailand later, according to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board ( ONCB ).
Thailand's war against drugs last year forced many drug lords to flee into neighboring countries. These drug barons may try to take advantage of any relaxation by the Thai authorities along the border to try to get back into business, according to senior ONCB official, Pittaya Jitranawat.
Thailand's anti-drug officials have detected a resurgence of heroin and other narcotic drugs lately, as a result of drug suppression operations in China and Myanmar.
Heroin smuggling has more than doubled so far this year, compared to the same period last year, according to ONCB officials. More "club drugs", like ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine have been found in entertainment places in northern Thailand.
"Drug smugglers might change their transport routes back into Thailand and find new groups of carriers such as hill tribe teenagers and local students to try to deceive officials," Pittaya said.
Around twenty drug lords have fled to Laos and Myanmar. The Thai authorities are cooperating with the two countries to get these traffickers deported to Thailand.
No newly produced methamphetamines have been found in the latest seizure of the pills smuggled into Thailand. Pittaya also dismissed reports that PCP - the new narcotic substance - was being smuggled into Thailand. So far there have been no seizures of PCP in the country, he said. However, some PCP had been detected in some fishing travelers, but only in very small quantities, he added.
The ONCB is confident that Myanmar's recent tough measures on drug suppression and its cooperation with Thailand along their common border will help stamp out the cross-border traffic in drugs. ( TNA )
Chiangmai Mail (Vol. III, No. 33)
14th August 2004