US$395 million of drugs to be torched in Thailand
More than 6,300 kilos of drugs to be burned on Monday to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
By Chanon Viravan
The door of the narcotic treasury room at Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration office is made of heavy steel with a combination lock, like the ones used to store valuables at a bank deposit room.
Wachira Umphon, director of the Substance Control Division is one of the few people with the authority and the password to open it.
Inside the room are hundreds of ordinary cardboard boxes. He opened one to reveal pricey but prohibitive items. Inside the boxes are drugs such as crystal meth and heroin.
On the street, a small package of these drugs can fetch thousands of baht, he said. The entire contents are 6,322 kilogrammes of confiscated drugs worth 13 billion baht (US$395 million).
The drugs include 5,514 kilogrammes of methamphetamine pills, 486kg of crystal meth, 108kg of heroin, 122kg of morphine, 10kg of ecstasy and 5kg of cocaine. They were confiscated in 7,245 narcotic cases.
The authority will burn the haul this Monday to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26.
“The cases relating to these drugs have all been cleared, so we can now dispose of these drugs,” Mr Wachira said.
The drug treasury at the FDA office in the Chaeng Watthana area was opened to the media yesterday to show how the drugs and substances are stored and secured.
The burning of confiscated drugs has been done for more than 40 years. Each year, almost 10 tonnes of drugs are incinerated.
The drugs are set to be destroyed at temperatures higher than 800 degrees, he said.
This type of incineration ensures that there are no harmful chemicals, especially carcinogenic dioxins, left airborne after the incineration, Mr Wachira said.
In another development, two Myanmar men were apprehended with 30 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine valued at 30 million baht (US$911,000) in Chiang Rai. The duo were identified as Sai Lyoe, 32, and Sai Hlang Han, 23.
The arrest came after the Narcotics Suppression Bureau received a tip-off that the drugs would be smuggled into the country at a hotel on Phahonyothin Road in Mae Sai district.
Meanwhile, in Pathum Thani, a policeman was shot dead yesterday by a drug dealer during a drug operation.
Pol Sgt Maj Asarn Ketjampa, 32, a drug suppression officer attached to Nonthaburi province, died after Yongyut Wangpairee, 27, allegedly shot him in the chest.