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Drug smuggler killed in shootout

Drug smuggler killed in shootout

Police and soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force seize sacks containing methamphetamine pills from the pickup truck following a shootout with the smugglers, in Muang district of Chiang Rai.

A drug smuggler was killed and another arrested and 4 million methamphetamine pills seized from their pickup truck during a shootout with police and soldiers in Chiang Rai on Thursday night.

Narcotics suppression police and soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force signalled a pickup truck with Chiang Rai licence plates to pull over for a search at a road checkpoint on Phaholyothin Road in tambon Ban Du of Muang district around 11pm. The driver instead sped through the checkpoint, and police cars set off in pursuit.

They sped past a market in tambon Bandu before the pursuers manoeuvred their vehicles to block the pickup truck’s passage. The fleeing driver rammed his pickup into the police vehicles and opened fire, according to a spokesman.

When the shooting stopped, the driver was dead. His passenger was arrested. There were 20 large sacks containing 4 million speed pills inside the pickup truck cab.

The arrested man was identified as Jathor Janu, 34, of Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district.

He was held in police custody to face charges of colluding in possessing illicit drugs with intent to sell, resisting officers and attempting to kill them, illegal possession of a weapon and carrying it in a public area.

A spokesman said the action followed receipt of information that a large quantity of illicit drugs would be smuggled south from the border in Mae Fa Luang and Mae Chan districts of Chiang Rai, travelling along  Phaholyothin Road in Muang district of this northern province.

Combined teams of police and soldiers were assigned to set up road checkpoints along the route and intercept the smugglers. 

Sacks containing 4 million speed pills are found packed inside the pickup truck.

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