Nakhon Phanom Faces Surge in Cannabis Smuggling Across Mekong River

By Thailand THC

thailandTHC > News > Nakhon Phanom Faces Surge in Cannabis Smuggling Across Mekong River

  • Driving The News: Cannabis smuggling is increasing in Nakhon Phanom, with traffickers exploiting legal loopholes and social media to sell cannabis.
  • Why It Matters: The surge in illegal cannabis trade poses significant challenges for law enforcement and impacts local communities.
  • The Big Picture: Effective regulatory measures and community cooperation are essential to combat the growing problem of cannabis smuggling.

NAKHON PHANOM, THAILAND – Cannabis smuggling is on the rise in Nakhon Phanom province, as traffickers exploit legal loopholes and social media platforms to sell cannabis brought in from neighboring countries. According to security agencies, the situation has become increasingly challenging since the decriminalization of cannabis, which has led to difficulties in enforcement.

Reports indicate that drug trafficking, particularly methamphetamine, has also surged, with nearly 10 million pills seized since the beginning of the year. Methamphetamine prices have dropped to 5-10 baht per pill, as gangs aim to increase sales by reducing the drug’s potency.

Cannabis, smuggled from neighboring countries, is frequently transported across the Mekong River into areas like Ban Phaeng district. Security forces have made several large seizures, ranging from 500 to 1,000 kilograms, primarily consisting of cannabis inflorescences. These products are then sold on social media and shipped via postal services, taking advantage of the legal ambiguities surrounding cannabis.

The decriminalization of cannabis in Thailand has created significant obstacles for security agencies. Current laws only allow for the seizure of cannabis during transport across the river. Once on land, the cannabis becomes legal, complicating enforcement efforts. Additionally, proving the origin and type of the cannabis requires costly DNA testing.

This regulatory gap has turned cannabis smuggling into a lucrative business, with prices in the black market reaching 3,000 to 5,000 baht per kilogram. Influential figures are reportedly involved, further complicating law enforcement efforts.

In response to these challenges, law enforcement has intensified patrols and investigations. Recently, police and military units, including the Navy’s Mekong Riverine Unit (NRU), identified and prosecuted members of a gang known as the Don Phaeng twins. This gang, implicated in obstructing and attacking NRU officers, highlights the dangerous conditions faced by law enforcement.

Justice Minister TAWEESIN revealed that efforts are underway to combat drug trafficking in border areas, including Nakhon Phanom. He acknowledged the difficulties posed by cannabis’s legal status and emphasized the need for community cooperation to monitor and report illegal activities.

As the government considers reinstating cannabis as a controlled substance, law enforcement agencies are advocating for clearer regulations to support their efforts in combating smuggling and ensuring public safety.

Contributing Sources: Thai Post