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Photos: Nigerian, two others arrested in Thailand after drugs were found in mattresses destined for Hong Kong

A 31-year-old Nigerian national, Christian Chibuike Emmanuel and two Thais nationals have been arrested after packages containing crystal methamphetamine were found hidden in mattresses ready for shipment to Hong Kong.

Kornwik Jirabutr, 27, was arrested by officials from the Seaport Interdiction Task Force (SITF) at a shipping company in Navamin area of Bangkok’s Bung Kum district on Thursday, July 15.

SITF officials found 10 kilogrammes of crystal meth hidden in folding mattresses on a pickup truck and intended for shipping to Hong Kong.

The two alleged accomplices, a Thai woman, Natcharee Phenglam, 28, and the Nigerian national were later arrested at a rented house in Bang Pahan district of Ayutthaya. Similar mattresses and packaging equipment were seized from the house as evidence.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board shared photos of the suspects on its Facebook page on Friday, July 16.

The SITF comprises officers from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and other agencies.

During questioning, the Nigerian suspect allegedly confessed the drugs had been smuggled from Laos.

ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkhon said the arrests followed the recent seizure of 314 kilogrammes of heroin at Laem Chabang port. The heroin was hidden in containers of paint and destined for a third country.

Investigators learned that a man known as Mr Ek, identified as Keng On-iem, 38, was behind the smuggling of the drugs, Mr Wichai said.

Mr Ek was wanted on an arrest warrant for the smuggling of 75 kilogrammes of heroin to Taiwan on Aug 20 last year. He remained at large and had reportedly fled into hiding in Laos, the ONCB chief said.

The seized heroin was later found to be destined for Australia.

The ONCB would invite representatives from Laos and Australia to attend a video conference to discuss cooperation in arresting those involved in transnational drug networks, Mr Wichai said.

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