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Further Drug Busts Linked To Drug Lord Xaysana Keopimpha

Bangkok, Sat Feb 11 2017
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Officials have said that around 88 million baht worth of assets have been seized from a southern drug network and a man linked to Lao drug lord Xaysana Keopimpha's network.

This was revealed at a news briefing on Friday by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and the Anti-Money Laundering Office. The southern drug racket allegedly involved Mamaruslan Dromae, a Thai national, and Zulkifli Bin Ibrahim, a Malaysian national. Both were arrested in Malaysia for allegedly possessing 70,000 speed pills in March 2014.

Police tracked the money trail of the group and found that money and assets from the drug profits were kept by Bulan Tharisueb, the wife of Mamaruslan, in Songkhla's Hat Yai district. Ms Bulan and her driver, Jitpanu Sae Heng, were arrested in Na Mom district on Wednesday.

Police subsequently discovered one million baht in cash and 145 grammes of gold ornaments in their vehicle, according to officers. The search of Ms Bulan's condominium in Hat Yai district also uncovered 40 million baht and 1.5 million Malaysian ringgit - around 11.7 million baht - in cash hidden in two large suitcases. Officials also searched Ms Bulan's house in Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat and seized 89,000 ringgit in cash, 152 grammes of gold ornaments and a Honda car.

In total, 68 million baht worth of assets were seized from the network. Meanwhile, a Lao national, Thao Kon Prasong, was arrested for a drug offence in Laos last month, according to officials.He was believed to be behind a haul of 6.3 million speed pills seized in Myanmar in February last year. The arrest was carried out under the joint operation Safe Mekong cooperation, which consists of Thailand and neighbouring countries along the Mekong River combatting drug smuggling.

His arrest led to the seizure of 20 million baht worth of his properties, including cars, houses and hotels, officials said. His arrest also led to the detention of a Malaysian suspected drug dealer, Kamarudin Bin Awang, allegedly linked to Mr Keopimpha's network, who was arrested in Kelantan state on Monday, they said.

Meanwhile, Thailand and Laos have agreed to tighten their joint anti-drug cooperation to combat drug trafficking across the border. Several joint anti-drug measures were agreed upon in a meeting on Thursday between ONCB chief Sirinya Sitdhichai and his Lao counterpart, Col Onphew Kongviengthong, secretary-general of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision. The meeting was held in Loei's Muang district.

Mr Sirinya said the result of the meeting saw an agreement to work together to arrest drug offenders, and investigate and suppress drug trafficking. Intelligence will be shared between the two countries to track the movements of suspected drug traffickers and carry out raids in villages or communities where drugs suspects are believed to be active, he said.

Zoning will be drawn up for operations to thwart drug pushers, while checkpoints will also be established to stop the transport of drugs along and across the border, Mr Sirinya noted.

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