Matt Pratten

Matt Pratten

Associate Analyst

04/08/2017

04/08/2017

Post Incident Report: Drug Trafficker Arrests Rayong and Seizures in Ayutthaya

Incident Date/Time: 28 July 2017 – 03 August 2017

Executive Summary
The follow up arrests and seizures by Thai police appears to be a recent development in their capability, Thai police have POSSIBLY improved their ability to exploit information of value and conduct large-scale follow up
operations at a faster speed.
Based on where the other traffickers live, Thai Police POSSIBLY have information on several storage locations within these provinces. However, given the publication of the sixty-four arrests in Ayutthaya, these locations have POTENTIALLY been emptied or abandoned. Nonetheless, police will PROBABLY conduct raids in these provinces in order to locate and seize ya bah and arrest as many lower level traffickers as possible. It is PROBABLE that several more combined raids will occur in Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet and Phetchabun provinces over the next week at the earliest.
Incident Details
(Click on above image to expand)
Over the period of 28 July 2017 – 03 August 2017, Thai Police made a number of arrests and large seizures of methamphetamine pills – a.k.a. ya bah – across multiple provinces in Thailand. Of note are the two incidents pointed out on the imagery above:
1. 28 July 2017: Police arrested 5 traffickers and seized 1.8 million ya bah pills in Wang Chan district, Rayong in what appeared to be the biggest seizure in the eastern provinces this year. The identities of the five traffickers are Manote Chamchuen (gang leader), 33, of Rayong; Chaloemkiat Naowarote, 35, of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (Ayutthaya); Nathapol Khumsaeng, 34, of Phitsanulok; Piyamuk Sukmak, 28, of Kamphaeng Phet; and Samorn Deesawat, 32, of Phetchabun. Police initially seized 400,000 pills when they arrested the five men. However, police later searched two houses Ayutthaya and found 1.4 million more pills.
According to information from reports, Manote ordered the methamphetamine pills from an accomplice in Myanmar. These drugs were transported from Chiang Rai in fruit trucks reaching the Talad Thai market in Pathum Thani province and stored in Ayutthaya. The map notes above show these locations.
COMMENT. While a large seizure for the province, similar quantities of ya bah have been seized in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
As shown in the map notes, these men are from different provinces around Thailand. The entry point in Chiang Rai and delivery/distribution in Ayutthaya shows that this operation spanned across multiple provinces between Rayong and Chiang Rai – including Bangkok. Previous reporting has provided similar information that large quantities of ya bah and methamphetamine – a.k.a. ‘Ice’ - is obtained from Myanmar and brought into Thailand via Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (Pratten, 2017b). From Bangkok and Ayutthaya, it is distributed further around the country and even further south into Malaysia via Songkhla province where Ice is often transported to additional countries.
2. 03 August 2017: Sixty-four suspects were detained in a series of raids carried out by a combined force of close to 600 police, military and local administrative officials in Ayutthaya. Over 100 locations in all 16 districts were targeted in the raids aimed at suppressing illegal activities, particularly those involving narcotics. The raids included the following:
12 locations raided in Bang Pa-in district; 7 locations Tambon Chiang Rak Noi; 5 in Tambon Ban Len where seven suspects were detained; and 2 drug suspects were apprehended in Tambon Tha Wa Sukri.
Authorities seized 888 ya bah tablets, 114 grams of ice, one gun and 45 bullets. According to available reports on this incident, Ayutthaya appears to be a major drug-trafficking gangs as a staging ground to transport illicit drugs to Bangkok and its surrounding provinces.
COMMENT. This raid occurred in the same district as the seizure of 1.4 million ya bah pills after the five traffickers were arrested in Rayong province to the South East. In previous, large seizures of ya bah, there has not been a large number of arrests afterwards.
Such a large-scale operation would have required a considerable amount of information on storage locations for ya bah as this drug, along with ice, is very easy to hide. In previous seizures of large quantities of ya bah, there has not been a follow up of large numbers of arrests.
Previous reporting has shown that Thai authorities regularly carry out combined operations and often achieve significant results with large seizures of drugs in either arrests of traffickers or location caches. However, the operations appear to do little in the way of reducing the supply of these drugs due to the absence of manufacturing locations in Thailand (Pratten, 2017b, Pratten, 2017a, Pratten, 2017c). COMMENT ENDS.
Assessment
The follow up arrests and seizures by Thai police appears to be a recent development in their capability, Thai police have POSSIBLY improved their ability to exploit information of value and conduct large-scale follow up operations at a faster speed.
The five traffickers arrested in Rayong are POSSIBLY the leaders or among the leaders of a large-scale drugs network that spans across Thailand and into Myanmar. Their arrests and the subsequent seizure of a large quantity of ya bah in Ayutthaya POSSIBLY provided the information needed for the large operation that resulted in sixty-four arrests that occurred across Ayutthaya on 03 August 2017. This operation has POSSIBLY removed a number of storage and distribution points of one of the arrested traffickers – Chaloemkiat Naowarote.
Based on where the other traffickers live, Thai Police POSSIBLY have information on several storage locations within these provinces. However, given the publication of the sixty-four arrests in Ayutthaya, these locations have POTENTIALLY been emptied or abandoned. Nonetheless, police will PROBABLY conduct raids in these provinces in order to locate and seize ya bah and arrest as many lower level traffickers as possible. It is PROBABLE that several more combined raids will occur in Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet and Phetchabun provinces over the next week at the earliest.
While the arrests and seizures that have occurred so far have removed a large supply of ya bah and removed a large number of traffickers of different levels out of the drug trade and trafficking operations in Thailand; it is PROBABLE the effects will again be short term at best. There appears to be little to no chance of Thai police finding and shutting down any manufacturing operations as these are PROBABLY located in Myanmar, out of their reach.
References

PRATTEN, M. 2017a. Weekly Intelligence Report: Monitoring in Thailand - 04 July 2017. Thailand [Online], 04 July 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/03/Weekly-Intelligence-Report-Monitoring-in-Thailand [Accessed 08 July 2017].
PRATTEN, M. 2017b. Weekly Intelligence Report: Monitoring in Thailand - 11 July 2017. Thailand [Online], 11 July 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/10/Weekly-Intelligence-Report-Monitoring-in-Thailand [Accessed 11 July 2017].
PRATTEN, M. 2017c. Weekly Intelligence Report: Monitoring in Thailand - 16 July 2017. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/16/Weekly-Intelligence-Report-Monitoring-in-Thailand [Accessed 20 July 2017].

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