ONCB posted another ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force at Samui Airport to block the drug trafficking route to the southern region

News / View / AAITF

Tuesday 24th of January 2017

ONCB posted another ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force at Samui Airport to block the drug trafficking route to the southern region

            On Thursday, 7 December 2017, Mr. Sirinya Sitdhichai, Secretary-General of the Narcotics Control Board of Thailand presided over the inauguration ceremony of the Samui Airport Interdiction Task Force Unit at Samui Airpot in SuratThani . Also presented at the ceremony were representatives from concerned local government agencies, namely Deputy Commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8, Police Superintendent of Surat Thani Immigration Office, Head of Customs Checkpoint at Samui Island, Director of Samui Airport, Director of ONCB Region 8 as well as foreign counterparts, namely, representatives from Australian Embassy, Japanese Embassy and Drug Enforcement Administration of the US Embassy.

            Samui Island is one of the most popular destinations for both local and international tourists. As a result, Samui Airport has often been used as a port where illicit drugs are smuggled in and out of the country. Investigation from several drug cases also revealed that there were orders to drug dealers in Bangkok to traffic drugs for sale on Samui Island. Law enforcement units have continuously arrested couriers with illegal drugs, particularly during various monthly events. To avoid tough scrutiny at main airports such as Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Muang Airport, drug traffickers use minor airports as their alternative trafficking routes. However, during 2013-2017, there were altogether 15 drug offenders arrested at Samui Airport comprising 6 Thai, 2 Indians, 1 each of Russian, Indonesian, Philippines, Nigerian, Vietnamese, and Italian nationals. The total seized drugs were 22.265 kg. of ICE, 25.810 kg. of cocaine, and 5 kg. of cannabis resin.

             “One of our tasks is to block, investigate and arrest persons who commit drug crimes at the airports under the ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force or AAITF Project. We have conducted several investigation, arrests and seizures of illicit drugs at Samui Airport. We have also cooperated with concerned law enforcement units to stop the trafficking of drugs in and out of the country. This Samui Airport Interdiction Task Force Unit will enable the ONCB and counterpart agencies to function more effectively and capable of supporting the suppression of transnational drug syndicates more efficiently.”, said Mr. Sirinya Sitdhichai, Secretary-General, NCB. Mr. Sirinya also added that, “Cocaine is top on the list of drugs widely abused in Samui. The drug is smuggled in by both Thai and foreign passengers coming from South America, followed by ICE and cannabis. We’ve found drug use among foreign tourists in many touristic areas. Therefore, the ONCB decided to post a task force unit at Samui Airport to work closely with police, Customs, Samui Airport and other relevant agencies as the AAITF Thailand Team to deter drug trafficking as well as to stop drug abuse in this area.