Thai police have set up an investigation committee to probe how a key drug smuggler was able to escape after being apprehended and taken into custody earlier, Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said Sunday.
Mr Pirapan told a press conference that police are hunting for 41-year-old Prida Takulprida who escaped while police were searching his house in the northern province of Chiang Mai’s Fang district on Saturday.
Details on how he could manage to escape while border patrol police officers escorted him to search for guns he cached in an orchard were not available as more than 100 border patrol police were searching to re-arrest him, Mr Pirapan said.
Mr Prida and four alleged accomplices – two men and two women – were nabbed early Saturday by plainclothes police and US Drug Enforcement Authority agents posing as drug buyers in Fang district, Mr Pirapan said.
He said 36 kilogrammes of compressed heroin worth more than Bt20 million (US$663,000) in Thailand and about Bt220 million ($7.3 million) in the United States were seized from Mr Prida and his accomplices.
The seizure of the compressed heroin, according to Mr. Pirapan, was the largest in the past five years.
Mr Prida is a major narcotics smuggler and also a significant financial support for Wa ethnic rebels in Myanmar, Mr Pirapan added. (MCOT online news)