Half a tonne of crystal methamphetamine was seized and two suspects arrested in Rattaphum district of this southern province on Sunday in a joint operation by police, military and local administrative officials.
Drug suppression officials raided a motorcycle repair shop at 431/7, Moo 3 in tambon Tha Chamuang, Rattaphum district, and arrested Polawat Detkub, alias Bang Mad, 43, and his girlfriend Waranya Ritthidet, 28.
They found found 377 kilogrammes of crystal meth, or ice, on the premises – 110kg packed in electric deep fryers, 1kg in each pot, and another 267kg waiting to be packaged.
A shotgun with three rounds of ammunition, six mobile phones with SIM cards and a Surat Thani-registered Isuzu pickup were also impounded as evidence.
Mr Polawat told the arresting officers he had been instructed by a man named Apisit Rongdet, alias Man, to put the crystal meth into the electric fryers and send them to another man named Abdolmad Mankakhet.
The fryers containing the crystal meth were to be shipped out of the country.
Information from Mr Polawat led to a search of a house at Moo 4 in tambon Khao Phra, Rattaphum district.
Neither Mr Apisit nor Mr Abdolmad were at the house. The officers did find 208kg of crystal meth – 108kg inside electric deep fryers and another 100kg yet to be put in pots.
The total amount of crystal meth found at the two locations was 585kg, which had an estimated street value of 117 million baht locally and 500 million baht abroad.
Lt Gen Kriangkrai Srirak, the 4th Army commander and director of Region 4 Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc), said the drugs belonged to a network run by Cholli Khunsetkua, alias Bang Lee, who was still at large.
He was based in Rattaphum district and was wanted under many arrest warrants.
Details of the operation were given out on Monday at the headquarters of the Region 4 Border Patrol Police in Muang district of Songkhla.
Also present were Pol Lt Gen Nath Singudom, the Border Patrol Police commander, and Jessada Jitrat, the Songkhla governor.