police seize property worth about 200 million baht from suspected drug gang - Police seize property, worth about 200 million baht, from suspected drug gang

Thai anti-narcotics police have seized property, estimated to be worth 200 million baht, from a suspected drug trafficking gang, of mostly northern hill tribe people, in coordinated raids in four provinces on Tuesday.

Thirty targets in Bangkok and Hua Hin, as well as in northern and southern provinces, were raided by armed anti-narcotics police. 24 houses, five shop-houses, 12 land title deeds, 22 cars and 27 motorcycles were impounded.

Armed with a search warrant, police searched a large house in Hua Hin yesterday, allegedly owned by Wanpen Sattunyakul, a member of a hill tribe, and found more than ten other tribe members living in there.

All of them reportedly claimed that they had opened souvenir shops in Hua Hin and denied any involvement in the illicit drugs trade.

Pol Maj-Gen Pornchai Charoenwong, deputy commissioner of Narcotics Suppression Bureau, said, however, that Wanpen was arrested in 2016, and had her property impounded, for alleged connections to a drug trafficking gang, which had already been apprehended.

Due to insufficient evidence, however, she was released and her property was returned, he said, adding that, this time, police have more evidence to implicate her and her relatives.

Meanwhile, Wattana Kerdphol, director of the 6th region of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, said that this alleged drug trafficking gang is mainly comprised of related hill tribe people.

The gang leader has several mistresses, who open shops to sell clothes and souvenirs to tourists, as a way to launder the illegal drug money.

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