Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thai drug seizure originated in Burmese militia group: report

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:47 Mizzima News

A drug haul confiscated by Thai police on Monday after they shot and killed seven drug runners originated in the Punako People’s Militia Force (PMF) based in Monghsat Township in Burma, sources told the Shan News Herald (SNH).

credit: SNH

The Punako militia is located in Monghsat’s Mongtoom tract, opposite Chiang Mai’s Mae Fa Luang District. The drug shipment passed through Loi Taw Kham tract in Tachilek Township in the far north before entering Thailand west of Mae Sai, according to the SNH article.

“This was because the usual channel, Maejok [in Monghsat Township] Hmong Kao Lang [in Mae Fa Luang District] is already overused and under round-the-clock surveillance,” said one source.

Thai police reported that 70 kilogrames of “ice “ or crystalline methamphetamine and 550,000 “yaba” or methamphetamine pills were seized.

One March 23, Punako was raided by a group that included foreigners who, according to local sources, looked like Chinese. However, the villagers were warned of the raid and fled, and the raiding party returned empty handed.

The home village of the Punako militia force is guarded by Burmese Army Light Infantry Battalions 553 and 554, according to the source.

The article said seven Akha militiamen were killed during Monday’s firefight in Thailand. They were identified as members of the Hsarmpi PMF, according to the SNH article.

“They seemed to have trusted their contacts in Thailand enough to carry arms well inside Thai territory,” a source told SNH. “The fact also indicates that this was not their first armed trip into Thailand.”

Mizzima reported on Tuesday that Thai police Maj. Gen. Surachet Thopunyanon said local border police had been tipped off and waited near a border crossing for several days, catching members of the drug gang by surprise, according to an Associated Press article on Monday. He said the suspects refused to stop and a shootout erupted.

An article in The Nation on Tuesday said about 100 police and border patrol agents staked out a mountain ridge in Ban Pha Mee, Wiang Pang Kham District, early Monday where they met up with about a dozen armed men who resisted an order to stop and be searched.

Meanwhile, Burma’s state-controlled Kyemon newspaper said police seized 73 kilograms (161 pounds) of crystal meth and hundreds of pounds of drug-making chemicals worth US$ 3.6 million in a raid on a house in Laukkai near the Chinese border on July 9.

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