BANGKOK, Thailand Three ethnic Hmong men, including one described by Thai narcotics officers as the "mastermind", were arrested with a huge shipment of more than 12 million of "Yaba" (Syabu) pills and 100 kg of "Ice" (Crystal Methamphetamine) in Chiangrai, northern Thailand, which borders Myanmar.

The three men, in their 30s, were apprehended along with the drugs stashed inside a pickup truck in Chiangkhong district, Chiangrai, at about 9 pm two days ago.

"Based on our investigation, the drugs would be transported to southern Thailand and smuggled into a third country for export to Indonesia and the Philippines," said Col Doy Wngpoom of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) here Monday.

The NSB, according to him, believed the 35-year-old man they referred to as the "mastermind" coordinated the distribution of the drugs with other syndicate members in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The "mastermind", said Wngpoom, conducted dealings with the drug factories in the "Golden Triangle" and other buyers throughout the region.

"We also believe he was involved with other large shipments of drugs before this," he said, adding that the three men chose last Saturday to conduct their "business" as they thought the authorities would not be on their highest alert.

Last Saturday was a public holiday in Thailand as people commemorated the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej two years ago.

Meanwhile, the NSB also announced its success in seizing 1.8 tonnes of marijuana (ganja) in two separate cases, on Oct 11 and two days ago.

The first case on Oct 11 involved the seizure of 800 kg of marijuana in Nakhon Ratchasima while a tonne of marijuana was confiscated in the second case two days ago in Lop Buri, he said, adding that four people were arrested.

Source: NAM News Network