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Fierce gunfight

Para-military rangers clashed with a drug-smuggling caravan in Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district early yesterday morning and seized about eight million yaba pills reportedly worth Bt2 billion on the streets. A drug suspect was killed.

The three-hour gunfight erupted at about 3am in tambon Ban Luang when the rangers intercepted the 20-strong gang.

Separately, police conducted a pre-dawn raid at Ban Huai San Moo 10 in tambon Tha Ton yesterday, the area where alleged drug kingpin Laota Saenlee's house is located.

Police seized 10 guns, including an M16 machine gun and a shotgun, and a large number of ammunitions.

Police also arrested two suspects and also seized 346 yaba pills and a pick-up truck.

Meanwhile, Lampang police arrested four drug suspects and seized some 200,000 yaba pills in Mae Prik district yesterday morning. The suspects reportedly told police that they were hired for Bt500,000 to transport the drugs from Chiang Rai to Tak.

In related news, Office of Narcotics Control Board secretary-general General Pongsapat Pongcharoen announced the arrests of construction contractor Somwong Boontip, 32, and his Myanmar employee, Ko Sut Tan, 25, and the seizure of some 52,000 yaba pills at an apartment in Nonthaburi's Muang district on Wednesday.

Somwong allegedly confessed that he was hired to store the drugs for Bt100,000 a time and this was the second time he did it.

At the apartment, police also discovered a bank account book allegedly linked to drug suspect Manee Khampeera, who was arrested and had about Bt200 million in assets seized on June 8.


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