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Thai Govt. Description of the Drug War

Drug Situation in Northern Thailand (05/09/2005) Illicit drug
problems in the border areas of northern Thailand involve
production, trafficking, trade, and abuse. The problems are
difficult to control, as minority groups from neighboring countries
are occupying several drug-producing areas bordering Thai soil. In
recent years, the Thai government has moved to cooperate more
closely with neighboring countries in anti-drug operations, and it
has also imposed severe measures to fight illicit drugs. The efforts
are contributing to the tackling of drug problems in the North.

The Golden Triangle, which stretches across northeast Myanmar,
northwest Laos, and northern Thailand, is known as a major area for
the production of opium, heroin, methamphetamine, and another kind
of drug, called ice. In Thailand, the Golden Triangle is located in
Chiang Saen District of Chiang Rai, on the part of Mekong River
where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. Smuggled
drugs have been found to cross the Mekong River to Thailand, passing
through the Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong, and Mae Sai districts of
Chiang Rai. They have also been transported to other northern
provinces, namely Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, and Tak.

Because of serious campaigns against drugs in the North, many
traffickers have turned to the Northeast, the East, and the West to
do their smuggling. As a result, drug trafficking in the northern
region has been on the decline. According to a report prepared by
the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, drug traffickers in the
North usually travel in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and they
sometimes operate in neighboring countries. Many foreigners were
found to travel to Mae Sai District of Chiang Rai and to cross the
border to smuggle heroin, methamphetamine, and ice from neighboring
countries to Thailand, or via Thailand to other countries.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Provincial Police
Office, Region Five, have been working with their counterparts in
Laos and Myanmar. Under the joint operations between Thailand and
Myanmar, from January to May 2005, nine drug traffickers were
arrested with more than 800,000 tablets of methamphetamine. Under
the joint operations between Thailand and Laos during the same
period, one trafficker was arrested with 208,000 tablets of
methamphetamine. The tripartite anti-drug cooperation, comprising
Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, during the period resulted in an arrest
of three traffickers with 350 grams of heroin.

Thailand and other ASEAN partners have agreed to strive to achieve
the common goal of a drug-free ASEAN 2015. The United Nations Office
on Drugs and Crime signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on
drug control with six countries, namely Cambodia, China, Laos,
Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. They have joined the Development of
Cross-border Law Enforcement Cooperation in East Asia Project under
the framework of the MOU. The project, carried out from 2001 to
2005, has played a vital role in capacity-building for anti-drug
officials working along border areas. It has also helped strengthen
closer cooperation between Thailand and its neighbors in anti-drug
operations, especially in the northern region.


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