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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Update on Big Ketamine Bust in November: Ketamine was at the Warehouse

300 kilograms of ketamine were transferred to new sacks at the warehouse before being shipped to Taiwan.

The commission gives their findings.

When: December 15th, 2020

Where: Bang Pakong district, Chachoengsao province

Perpetrators: Ketamine smugglers

Victims: We’ve all been hoodwinked

What: The office of the Narcotics Control Commission (NCC) along with Major Generals, advisors to the commission, and director of the Institute of Academic Drug Testing, jointly announced the results of the verification of the case of 493 sacks that were seized in the warehouse in Chachoengsao province last month.

The warehouse and the seizure hit international headlines as it was supposedly a massive multi-ton, 30 billion baht ketamine haul.

Days later, corrections were issued across the world and social media commentary was ablaze with speculation that the authorities here really had a SNAFU on their hands.

But the reports coming out today add a lot more clarity to the situation. It’s not as it seems.

It was reported at the conference that Taiwanese officials arrested transnational drug traffickers and found evidence from the suspect’s cell phone linking him to Thai people. The NCC coordinated to investigate the leads and found the warehouse at Chachoengsao province. On November 12th, 2020, officers seized the 493 sacks in the warehouse because they looked suspicious.

Preliminary verification with the chemical test kits found that they gave the purple result – indicating a narcotic find. They brought the stuff to the lab to verify the results again. New results from December 14th, 2020, are now being reported.

They can be summarized as follows:

  • 55 white sacks weighing 1,664 kilograms were sewn loosely and contained trisodium phosphate.
  • 200 white sacks weighing 5,109 kilograms were tightly sewn and contained trisodium phosphate. * 200 more blue ightly-sewn sacks, weighing in at 5,020 kilograms, and also contained trisodium phosphate.
  • 27 sacks weighing in at 656 kilograms, which were opened, contained trisodium phosphate.
  • The other 12 sacks weighing in at 301 kilograms were calcium carbonate. This is where 1.2 grams of ketamine were detected.

Investigators believe that ketamine was transferred into new bags and sent to Taiwan, because the amount of the last 12 sacks was 301 kilograms, which matches the amount of the 300kg found in Taiwan.

The NCC has two cases now on its hands. In Taiwan, the authorities arrested the suspect and seized 300 kilograms sent from Thailand. And the warehouse in Chachoengsao province is still under active investigation, because it is now believed it was the staging area of the transfer of ketamine. So the associated warehouse owners, tenants, and smugglers are all being investigated.

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My take: The devil is always in the details. The initial results of the drug tests did give authorities the impression that they had narcotics on their hands because the tests came back purple-positive.

But there were only trace amounts of ketamine left because the rest of the 300 kilograms had already been smuggled out of the country to Taiwan. This is a major detail that needs further consideration. It wasn’t the biggest bust in Thai history but it is still a major break in a smuggling case and we’ll be reporting on it as updates roll in.

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Source: https://www.dailynews.co.th/crime/812914

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