Thai security forces killed six alleged drug couriers, believed to be hill tribesmen, in the northern province of Chiang Rai on the Thai-Myanmar border on Monday night.
The six were reportedly in an area of jungle in Mae Fah Luang district, about 100 meters from the porous Thai-Myanmar border when they clashed with Thai security forces. The Thai officials seized 1.8 million methamphetamine pills from knapsacks left at the site of the clash, Thai PBS news reported.
Acting on a tipoff that a drug caravan would use a jungle route in the district’s Mae Fah Luang sub-district to smuggle illegal narcotics into Thailand, Thai security forces then dispatched a unit of troops and paramilitary rangers to lay in wait and intercept them.
The security forces found a group of about 15 men on a jungle trail and ordered them to stop, only to come under fire, triggering a 15-minute gunfight.
UN agencies believe production of narcotics, methamphetamines and synthetic drugs has increased in Shan State since the Feb. 1 coup in the country, which has spun into political chaos and civil conflict. It is believed that the coup, administrative failures and continued clashes and conflict have weakened drug enforcement capacity in Myanmar, allowing transnational criminal organizations and drug traffickers to thrive.
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Source: The Irrawaddy