Thailand nabs Malaysian with 520kg of marijuana

BANGKOK • A Malaysian has been arrested for trying to smuggle more than half a tonne of cannabis into his country across Thailand's southern border.

It was the latest major bust on a well-worn smuggling route.

Mohd Nizam Ishak, 34, was stopped on Monday while driving a truck with fake Malaysian licence plates at a border checkpoint in Sadao in Thailand's southern province of Songkhla.

Investigators said they found 520kg of marijuana, worth around US$440,000 (S$588,000), hidden under furniture in the truck. "The suspect confessed to the trafficking charge and said he was hired for RM1,000 (S$348) to transport marijuana from Hat Yai (in Songkhla) to... Kuala Lumpur," police Lieutenant-General Rawat Klinkasorn said in a statement yesterday.

The suspect also allegedly confessed to taking drugs along the same route on previous occasions.

Thailand is a producer and major transit hub for drugs. Much of the regional drug manufacturing takes place in the Golden Triangle, a remote border area where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet.

Major-General Chartee Paisarnsilp, divisional commander of the narcotics suppression police, said the cannabis came from a neighbouring country.

Thai police last month announced a major bust involving a Malaysian gang allegedly smuggling millions of dollars of heroin and methamphetamine between the two countries by train. So far, 21 Malaysians have been arrested for links to that operation.

Meanwhile, Chinese police have broken up a cross-border drug-trafficking ring in raids that seized more than 400kg of cocaine, the country's biggest seizure in recent years, Guangdong police said in a statement on Monday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Thailand nabs Malaysian with 520kg of marijuana'. Print Edition | Subscribe