Thailand’s Massive Drug Bust: 41% Rise in Cases Over 9 Months

Soldiers intercept drug traffickers transporting narcotics across the Myanmar border into Thailand in Fang District, Chiang Mai Province, on June 24, 2024.

BANGKOK —  The Narcotics Suppression Operations Center of the Royal Thai Police (NSOC-RTP) has instructed Provincial Police Regions 1-9, the Metropolitan Police Bureau and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau to cooperate with the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and related agencies in a nationwide operation to raid and search drug networks on Thursday.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Samran Nuanma, Deputy Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police and Deputy Director of NSOC-RTP in charge of counter-narcotics, supervised the operation. All units began the operation at dawn on June 27, 2024.

After the completion of the operation, a follow-up meeting was held and attended by the Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to receive the report from Pol. Gen. Kittirat Panpetch, the Deputy Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police.

4.7 million meth pills seized

In this raid and search operation, 2,523 locations were searched nationwide, including 846 drug trafficking networks.


PM antidrug
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin observes the ‘Tha Wang Pha Model’ for drug rehabilitation, focusing on returning addicts to their families, at Suttharam Temple, Tha Wang Pha District, Nan Province, on June 27, 2024.

The results of the nationwide operation can be summarized as follows: 131 suspects were arrested, 1,617 arrest warrants for drug cases were executed, and the following items were seized: 4,784,018 methamphetamine pills, 590.83 kg of ice (crystal meth), 1.22 kg of ketamine, 73.43 kg of heroin, 45,439 ecstasy pills, 196 firearms, and assets with a total value of 327.78 million baht were seized or frozen.

Chiang Mai Province ranked first amomg all the 76 provinces in the country when it comes to the amount of methamphetamine seized since last October to the present, with 108 million pills confiscated, said the province governor Nirat Pongsittaworn. For the whole of Thailand, the figure for the period is over 500 million pills.

The Royal Thai Police said it will continue to intensify the fight against drugs, especially by arresting and confiscating assets of small dealers in communities, which directly affects the public.

chiangmai antidrug
Chiang Mai Province ranked first amomg all the 76 provinces in the country when it comes to the amount of methamphetamine seized.

In addition, efforts will focus on intercepting drug shipments from the border areas to the inner regions. This is evidenced by the Royal Thai Police arrest statistics for the last 9 months, from October 2023 to date. They show the arrest of 81,455 petty drug traffickers, an increase of 23,949 cases or 41 percent compared to last year.

Frozen assets 8.6 billion baht

Interceptions and arrests of medium-sized drug networks (100,000 to 500,000 methamphetamine pills) amounted to 208 cases, an increase of 60 cases or 40 percent. Arrests of larger drug networks (over 1,000,000 methamphetamine pills) totaled 171 cases, an increase of 67 cases or 64 percent. The expansion of arrests of network leaders or supporters resulted in 1,337 cases, an increase of 550 cases or 70 percent.

Arrests of suspects with outstanding warrants totaled 3,050 warrants, an increase of 980 warrants or 47 percent. Methamphetamine pill seizures totaled 738.5 million pills, an increase of 392.8 million pills, or 113 percent. The total value of seized and frozen assets amounted to 8.648 billion baht ($234 million).

chiangmai antidrug

PM urges officials to work harder

After hearing the report, the Prime Minister emphasized that the drug problem was a critical issue that the government needed to address urgently. Even though all government officials are working hard and have made numerous drug arrests, this problem is not yet resolved and remains a major issue. Many citizens are in tears because their children and grandchildren are still addicted to drugs in large numbers.

“It is crucial for officials from the administration, military, and police to work in unity. Don’t work separately; share information regularly, discuss problems in meetings. We need to work harder and set more challenging goals. If there’s a shortage of equipment or manpower in any area, let us know. The government is ready to provide full support,” he said.

The PM also pointed out that the price of methamphetamine has not increased, and demand remains high.

“Therefore, I urge you to continue working diligently. Once targets are set, raise them higher to create more challenges. Work every day, emphasizing border areas which are major points of drug influx,” the Prime Minister said.

Customs Dept Seizes Over 45 Million Baht

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Finance Julapun Amornvivat, with officials from the Customs Department and Immigration Bureau, held a press conference to announce the interception of illegal narcotics trafficking through various channels totaling over 45 million baht.

On June 21, during a search of a female passenger of South African nationality arriving from Nairobi, Kenya, at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand, officers found 35 capsules of Category 2 narcotics, Cocaine, hidden in her body by ingestion, weighing approximately 415 grams with a value exceeding 1,245,000 baht. As a result, legal proceedings were initiated after her arrest.

On June 22, the investigation and suppression team intercepted a parcel containing suspicious items bound for South Korea. Despite being labeled as SNACK and MILK POWDER, the contents disguised Methamphetamine, a Category 1 Narcotic, in the form of pink and green pills marked with “WY.” The hidden drugs were found within two packets of powdered milk, totaling 13,850 pills valued at 415,500 Thai Baht.

drugs custom
for caption pls – A press conference that Deputy Minister of Finance Julapun Amornvivat, with officials from the Customs Department and Immigration Bureau announce the interception of illegal narcotics trafficking on June 27, 2024.

On June 26, officials arrested a Thai female passenger attempting to smuggle narcotics out of Thailand at Suvarnabhumi Airport. She was bound for Malé-Velana International Airport, Maldives, carrying 2 kilograms of Methamphetamine concealed in grey plastic bags taped with brown adhesive, further wrapped in black plastic bags.

The drugs, with an estimated value of 2 million Baht, were seized. All illegal substances were hidden in specially designed compartments within a grey hard-shell suitcase with wheels.

Additionally, the Customs Department also seized attempts to smuggle hidden cannabis flower buds for export out of the country as follows:

On June 7, 2024, suspicious inflatable pool products were found during an inspection of outgoing goods destined for Singapore. It was discovered that the inflatable pool products contained a hidden quantity of marijuana weighing 95.059 kilograms, with an estimated value of 3.5 million baht.

On June 13, 2024, suspicious boxing equipment was found during an inspection of outgoing goods destined for the United Kingdom. Upon inspection, 106.94 kilograms of packaged marijuana worth 4 million baht were found hidden with the boxing equipment.


On June 21, 2024, suspicious adult diapers were found during an inspection of outgoing goods destined for the Netherlands. Upon inspection, 90 kilograms of packaged marijuana worth over 3.3 million baht were found hidden along with the adult diapers.

In the fiscal year 2024 (October 1, 2023 – June 26, 2024), the Customs Department reported statistics on 101 drug seizure cases valued at over 615.74 million baht.