Southern Thai drug ring busted, leader detained in Malaysia

By NNN-Bernama

Bangkok : Thai police believe they have smashed the biggest drug syndicate in the restive southern Thailand with the arrest of its leader in Malaysia Sunday.

Support TwoCircles

Mayakee Makoh was arrested at Sungai Golok pier with the cooperation of the Malaysian police, said Deputy National Police Chief Wongkot Maneerin.

He said 14 of the 16-member syndicate have been arrested so far.

Asked if the syndicate has any link with the southern unrest, he said there was no evidence so far to show the connection between the drug syndicate and the separatists seeking independence for the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani.

Police managed to crack the syndicate following the recovery of more than Bt30.5 million (US$968,254.02) hidden inside PVC pipes under Mayakee’s house in Tambon Munoh of Narathiwat’s Sungai Kolok district, which borders Malaysia, and notorious for smuggling activities.

More than 2,600 people have died since January 2004 when suspected separatists resumed their campaign to seek independence for the Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani.

But the authorities had said on many occasions drug dealers could be behind some of the daily violence in the troubled south.

Thai Army spokesman Col Akara Thiproj said the group operated by Mayakee was believed to be the biggest drug syndicate in the three provinces.

He said the authorities are investigating possible links with separatists.

Thai police had said Mayakee’s father, known as “Sapaeing”, was believed to be connected with the insurgency movement.