PHUKET: Two key members of a major drug dealing network were arrested in Phuket with about 7.5 kilograms of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) and other drugs worth a total of more than 5 million baht.

The suspects confessed to ordering more than 50kg of drugs each time from a dealer in the North in order to sell them in and around the Andaman provinces.

Police are searching for other members of the network, at least three of whom are on the run.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Teeraphol Thipjaroen this morning held a press conference at Phuket Provincial Police station to release details of the arrest.

The suspects were named as Weeravuth Tarurak, 38, and Wanchai Sae-Yang, 27. Other than ya ice, police also seized 177 pills of ya bah (methamphetamine), a gun and a hundred bullets, and a motorbike.

Both were charged with possession of category 1 drugs with intent to sell, while Mr Wanchai was additionally charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

“We first arrested Mr Weeravuth on Saturday in Patong. At the time, he was in possession of 50 pills of ya bah. We questioned him and broadened the case to lead to Mr Wanchai. Our source then pretended to buy 500 grams of ya ice, worth 70,000 baht, from Mr Wanchai. They made an appointment to meet near Bangkok Hospital Phuket,” said Maj Gen Teeraphol.

“Mr Wanchai appeared as appointed and was arrested last night. We then took him to his house in Talad Yai for a further check, where we seized a gun and 42 bullets. Our search then led us to a rental condo in Rassada where we found an additional 7kg of ya ice, 122 more ya bah pills and another 59 bullets,” he added.

Mr Wanchai confessed that he was dealing for his brother, Mongkol Sae-Yang, 29, who had escaped to Bangkok.

“Mr Wanchai used to be a Chinese tour guide for a well-known company in Phuket. He quit his job three months ago and became involved in drug dealing. He told us that many others are involved in the operation as well,” said Gen Teeraphol.

“The network is based in the Northern hill-tribe area (Jin Hor, in Thai), in Chiang Rai. The members are very familiar with Phuket from having been involved in the tourism business. They named their dealer as A-Chai,” he added.

Mr Mongkol is reportedly the leader of the operation and orders drugs from A-Chai to sell in the Andaman provinces.

“Two others were also involved. Pakpoom Toket is the one who flies to Chiang Rai to send the drugs through a logistics company. Another man named Adisak Saengnil then collects the delivery and Mr Wanchai sells and delivers the drugs to customers,” said Gen Teeraphol.

“We are now looking for Mr Mongkol, Mr Pakpoom and Mr Adisak, among others. They are on the run, but we believe them to be in Bangkok. We have also contacted Chiang Rai police in order to broaden the case,” he added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong