Six members of a drug smuggling caravan were killed and about 300 kilogrammes of ketamine seized by Thai border forces in a clash near the Thai-Myanmar border in Fang district of Chiang Mai Province yesterday (Monday).
The Pha Muang Task Force and the Third Region of the Internal Security Operations Command said in its Facebook post that two patrol units had been dispatched to Ban Pang Tong in Mon Pin sub-district on a routine patrol mission to intercept drug smuggling across the Myanmar border.
While on patrol in the mountainous jungle, the security forces came across a group of about 20 men carrying backpacks and demanded a search, but were shot at by armed guards.
The ensuing firefight lasted about ten minutes, after which the drug smugglers fled the scene. The security forces searched the area and found six men lying dead, with three shotguns and four cell phones. 19 backpacks, containing about 300kg of ketamine, were seized.
As the forces continued to scour the scene, they were fired upon by members of the drug caravan hiding in the woods, sparking off another brief gun battle. All the security forces escaped unhurt.
On December 8th, Thai border forces shot and killed 15 members of a drug caravan and seized a large cache of illegal narcotics near the Myanmar border in Fang district.
The mostly porous border in Thailand’s northern provinces has long been used by drug traffickers from Myanmar to smuggle illicit drugs, produced in areas controlled by rebel groups, such as the well-armed United Wa State Army, into Thailand.