Man busted at airport for illicit pills

Man busted at airport for illicit pills

A 57-year-old man was arrested on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport with 79,200 anti-anxiety and stimulant medication pills in his luggage, Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol said yesterday.

Ansiri Anwar, 57, described only as being from South Asia, arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport from Karachi, Pakistan on Friday, Mr Wichai said.

Mr Anwar was arrested by the Airport Interdiction Task Force (AITF), which is tasked with suppressing drug smuggling via airports and international postal services. The AITF is made up of the Customs Department, Narcotics Suppression Bureau, Armed Forces Security Centre and ONCB officials.

Mr Anwar’s three suitcases were found to contain 4,200 tablets of the stimulant methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin), 5,200 tablets of zolpidem (Ambien), 5,200 tablets of alprazolam (Xanax), 23,800 tablets of zolpidem tartrate, and 40,800 tablets of diazepam (Valium) which came to 79,200 in total, Mr Wichai said.

The first four were classified as Category 2 drugs, while the fifth was Category 4. All of them affect the central nervous system.

Mr Wichai said South Asia had become a major regional source of chemicals and drugs.

He said that transnational criminals from South Asia had been active in Thailand and were involved in illegal activities, including producing and trading fake passports, forgery of documents, and the drug trade.

ONCB statistics showed that between 2018-2022 nine suspects from South Asia were arrested in eight cases with 31.22 kilogrammes of ketamine, 2.4kg of cocaine, 1.1kg heroin, 6.5 grammes of ice or crystal methamphetamine and eight meth pills being seized.

South Asia encompasses Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

People found to be involved in illegal production, import, export and sale of or having in possession Category 2 narcotic drugs are liable to one to 15 years in jail and/or a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 baht. Those found with Category 4 drug stimulants are liable to a jail term of up to five years and/or a maximum fine of 500,000 baht.