On April 9, the United States Government assisted the Royal Thailand Government in a large-scale operation against five drug trafficking networks with money laundering operations worth over 3 billion baht (approximately US$100 million). With support from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chiang Mai Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU), the Royal Thai Government arrested 15 suspects who are involved in laundering millions of U.S. dollars across the Thailand-Myanmar border. The Thai authorities arrested suspects in Chiang Rai, Pathum Thani, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Tak, Saraburi, Chachoengsao, Nonthaburi, and Songkla Provinces and seized assets worth approximately 72 million Baht (approximately US$2.4 million). The U.S. DEA provided investigative mentorship, operational funding, and technical assistance to a part of this operation.
The U.S. DEA’s Sensitive Investigative Unit in Chiang Mai is a vetted task force comprised of investigators from the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB); the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB); and the Provincial Police Narcotics Suppression Unit (PPNSU). DEA Agents and Intelligence Analysts are embedded in the unit and act as agent advisors to provide investigative support, operational funding, intelligence sharing and technical assistance to our Thai partners. The mission of the SIU Program is to help Thai law enforcement successfully conduct complex drug investigations to detect, target, and dismantle major international drug trafficking organizations.
SIU and other NSB officers receive specialized training in DEA’s training facilities in Quantico, Virginia in addition to funding for equipment and training from the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
“We have been friends, partners, and allies with Thailand in this fight against drug trafficking for many decades. First with the opening of our DEA Bangkok office in 1963, then with our DEA Chiang Mai office in 1971,” said U.S. Ambassador Michael George DeSombre. “We will continue this U.S.-Thai security and law enforcement cooperation for many more decades to come.”
“While we tackle this COVID-19 pandemic hand-in-hand with the Royal Thai Government, we also continue to work with our Thai partners to protect our families and communities from drug traffickers,” said Consul General Sean O’Neill.
Download high resolution photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8DXeAuxCbFRj8xCB6
For more information, please access the Ministry of Justice April 10, 2020 press conference here: https://bit.ly/2y6HdO5