Thai authorities seize crystal meth worth $30m bound for Australia

·1-min read
 Thai customs officials store seized crystal methamphetamine in Bangkok, Thailand, 23 December 2021 (EPA)
Thai customs officials store seized crystal methamphetamine in Bangkok, Thailand, 23 December 2021 (EPA)

Crystal methamphetamine with a street value of at least $30 million has been seized at a Thailand airport.

The drugs were stuffed inside boxing punching bags and the shipment was bound for Australia, custom officials said on Thursday.

More than 193 kilograms of meth - known as ice - were hidden among 15 different bags.

Surrounded by cameras, a Thai customs official sliced through a long cardboard box and then the red outer layer of the boxing punch bag, exposing the drugs hidden amongst the stuffing.

The inspection began after officials grew suspicious of the shipment since the Thai-made training equipment is not in high demand in Australia, officials from the two countries who had been investigating the matter told a news conference in Bangkok.

"Australia consumes around 11 tons of methamphetamine per year," Australian Border Force Acting Superintendent Joel Carruthers said. "So there’s a market for it, and disrupting it offshore in countries such as Thailand is fantastic."

Meth is a restricted drug only allowed for medical purposes around the world, including in Australia. Its manufacturing, supply or possession is banned. Australia has one of the highest meth addiction rate in the world

The was drug was first synthesized in Japan and has since converted into several forms becoming a recreational drug. It is largely produced in Myanmar, Laos and Thailand — known as Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle.

Its smuggling has been increasing sharply in recent years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Thailand is the main route for Myanmar meth to reach the Asia-Pacific and several packages have been busted in the past as well as part of the efforts of authorities to clampdown on the illegal business.

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