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2 nabbed with Australia-bound heroin

A TOTAL OF 147 kilograms of grade-A heroin, with a street value of more than Bt3 billion, was discovered hidden in a frozen-seafood container heading to Australia from Ranong.

Two men - one Malaysian and the other Thai, both in their 40s - were also arrested in the drug bust that stemmed from a month-long operation between Thai and Australian police.

Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), told the press that Malaysian national Yi Yong Ho and his Thai accomplice Kritsana Meenant used a marine-life export company's office in tambon Bang Rin to repackage the narcotics to send along with the seafood products to Australia.

The Australian Federal Police had previously contacted their Thai counterparts to inquire about |a large batch of heroin would be sent to Australia, so |Thai police decided to investigate the case, Pongsapat said.

The investigation team learned that a group of Malaysian suspects, particularly Yi, had made several trips from Malaysia to Bangkok and Ranong last November, he said. Then the team learned that the man had returned to Ranong in February, possibly for further planning and making connections.

On Tuesday night, Yi and Kritsana returned to Ranong to take the drugs to the company's office for repackaging, Pongsapat said.

The Thai police team had been tailing the pair for nearly a month and decided to arrest them at this point. The seized heroin carried the Lion on Globe logo, which reportedly originated from Myanmar, and was found packed in 420 small packets and hidden in 23 boxes of seafood, Pongsapat said. The total amount of heroin seized weighed 147kg and could fetch up to Bt3 billion in Australia.


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