Authorities from the region and internationally met to discuss the threat of fentanyl and synthetic drugs.
When: February 4th, 2021
Where: Thailand; Golden Triangle; Saraburi
Perpetrators: Drug networks in region; Teerapong Lekphet, 21
What: On February 4th, 2021, Thailand’s Justice Minister Mr. Somsak Thepsutin gave a press conference about a report on the smuggling of reactants and chemicals in the Mekong region. The event was attended by representatives from the United Nations, Royal Thai Police, international police organizations from Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, the USA, Australia, and the EU.
Mr. Somsak said he met with ministers of the six nations in the greater Mekong region and announced the “Joint Operation Golden Triangle 1511” initiative aimed at enhancing protection and blocking precursors and chemicals from being transported in the region.
The report says that the discovery of more chemicals and precursors indicates the drug problem is evolving. It’s moving more from plant drugs to synthetic drugs that are difficult to track.
Some of the chemicals mentioned are Phenyl-2-Proanone, which you may recall as the P2P ingredient in the show Breaking Bad. Another chemical mentioned is Propionyl chloride, which is used in manufacturing fentanyl — the deadly drug that has wreaked havoc in North America and was found for the first time in a massive bust in Myanmar in February 2020.
True Crime Thailand reported on the discovery of fentanyl in the Golden Triangle in this long form piece that looks at the fentanyl threat in South East Asia and what to anticipate in the future: https://truecrimethailand.substack.com/p/myanmars-apocalyptic-drug-bust
It’s encouraging to see the region take the threat of fentanyl serious, but if the past is any indication of future results, it’s very likely that these nations won’t be able to suppress the manufacture, distribution, and ultimately the deadly use of fentanyl in the region.
Along with talk about precursors, the event announced a major heroin bust with cooperation of the task force.The report stated that drugs are being smuggled by boat to China and Taiwan, and they tracked a man by the name of Teerapong Lekphet, 21, who was transporting large postage boxes to a shipping company that were meant to be sent abroad.
The bust found 214 kilograms of heroin, worth roughly 1.07 billion baht. Mr. Teerapong has links to major international drug networks.
The conference ended with an action plan of developing better testing in the region to detect for precursors along with promising more cooperation between regional law enforcement agencies.
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My take: I have written extensively about the looming threat of fentanyl in the region.
The fact is, it’s inevitable that one day the stuff will be on the streets and in the villages of South East Asia.
There’s really no way to stop it as market forces driven by demand for cheap alternatives to heroin will fuel the distribution of the drug in the region.
Once it does really hit, you will know, as the overdose deaths will be a daily occurrence in the news.
I’d highly suggest taking a look at the article I wrote about the Myanmar bust. It explains what happened and why it’s relevant fairly well.
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