Thai authorities intercept crystal meth worth £2m in one of country’s biggest seizures

Thailand‘s police have seized a tonne of crystal methamphetamine worth almost £2m, in one of the biggest ever single seizure of the illegal drug.

The drug burst happened after police officers stopped a pick-up truck in central Nakhon Nayok province on Friday following information of movement of large amounts of drugs, the Royal Thai Police said in a press conference on Sunday.

As many as 40 bags of the methamphetamine – commonly known by its street name “Ice” – were seized from the truck, said national police chief Kittharath Punpetch.

He said that Thailand’s army and police officers were on alert and monitoring smuggling gangs across the country after learning about the movement of drugs.

The driver of the truck has been arrested but the police believe that the huge consignment was linked to a Thai national based in a neighbouring country.

Inshik Sim, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office, said there was a “notable increase in trafficking cases involving one ton or more of the drug in the Mekong”.

Thailand is a part of the major transit route – the “golden triangle” – known for the illicit trade of methamphetamines and other illegal drugs between Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand.

The estimated international value of the latest seizure was Thai Bhats 798mn (£19.9m).

According to reports, drugs flow from super labs in parts of Myanmar, specifically its Shan state, which is known for the world’s largest meth trade. In 2023, a UN report found that Myanmar overtook Afghanistan as the world’s largest producer of opium.

Methamphetamine is primarily distributed in two forms: pills commonly referred to as yaba, or the highly addictive crystal methamphetamine, known as ice.

In recent years, law enforcement agencies from Thailand and China, supported by neighboring forces, have intensified operations in the Golden Triangle.

In December last year, Thai police seized an estimated 50 million tablets hidden in sacks in a six-wheeler truck from western province of Kanchanaburi, close to the Myanmar border. At that time, the quantity of methamphetamine tablets seized was a record for Thailand.