CHIANG RAI – The Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general Sirinya Sidthichai told a press conference in Bangkok that 15 tonnes of sodium cyanide that’s used in the making of methamphetamine pills was seized and Chiang Rai man has been arrested.

Chiang Rai native, Sawat Kaewdam, 41, is facing charges over alleged illegal entry and failing to obtain a permit to transport a hazardous substance into Myanmar. The seized sodium cyanide could be synthesized into phenyl-2-propanone, a narcotic substrate and used to produce about 295 million methamphetamine pills.

Sawat was nabbed in the Myanmar border town of Tachileik, thanks to the Thai-Myanmar police collaboration, a senior official said on Sunday.

Under questioning by authorities, Sawat claimed he was hired to transport the batch to a gold mine in Yangon. Sodium cyanide is also used to extract gold.

Sodium cyanide is designated a “hazardous substance type 3” under the Hazard Substances Act 1992, and its manufacture, import and export, or possession requires a permit from the Department of Industrial Works (DIW)

Secretary-General Sirinya Sidthichai said the amount of sodium cyanide seized could produce 295 million yaba pills or 9,500 kilograms of crystal meth or “ice” had originally been ordered from China to be delivered to Yangon, but it was brought in via Tachileik.

Tachileik is a long distance from Myanmar’s capital, a fact that led officials to suspect that its intended use might be narcotics manufacturing Sirinya said.
By Jessada Chantharak