Pattaya Daily News

07 January 2013 :: 13:01:18 pm 70109

Pattaya Police Bust Illegal Plant Growers

Several residents in a predominantly Muslim community in Banglamung were arrested for growing Mitragyna speciosa trees. The plant was declared illegal by the government in 1943. Besides its medicinal properties, the plant reportedly has mildly narcotic effects.
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PATTAYA – January 6, 2013 [Pattaya Daily News]; at 5 p.m., a complaint about people growing Mitragyna speciosa plants illegally was received by Pol. Lt. Gen. Chaiwat Chotima, Commissioner, who commanded Pol. Lt. Col. Suporn Hiranvetchabul, Deputy Superintendent; and Pol. Capt. Chanu Phimnu, Deputy Inspector; the head of subduing police, Pattaya; to coordinate with Capt. Samrerng Janso, the director of news department, Navy section; and Pol. Col. Somneuk Jankate, Superintendent, Nong Preu police station; to bring the forces of more than 20 police officers to arrest the suspects.

The illegal plants were located in Soi Mitsamphan 1, at the road alongside the railway, Moo 11 Tambon Nong Preu, Amphur Banglamung, Chonburi province.

The police inspected 5 target houses located in Mitsamphan community, which houses mostly Muslim people. Police found that the houses were growing more than 10 Mitragyna speciosa trees nearly 5 meters tall. The officers cut the trees down and kept them for evidence.

Police restrained the owners of the 5 houses, identified as Mr. Saraimarn Lohsun, age 48; Mrs. Amphorn Lohsu, age 52; Mr. Somsak Boonloh, age 46; Mrs. Ladda Boonloh, age 50; and Mr. Santi Phocharoen, age 31; to prosecute according to the law.

Mr. Saraimarn confessed that he had been growing Mitragyna speciosa trees for a long time, because he believed that it is a medicine to cure diabetes, or to give to the children to cure for diarrhea. But most of the time he grows the plants for the goats to eat to cure for diarrhea.

However, he admitted to police that sometimes the teenagers would steal the plants to boil the leaves to consume, but he could not capture them.

The police investigated further, and discovered that some of the arrested suspects were selling the Mitragyna speciosa leaves to teenagers to boil with Coca Cola or cough syrup, to consume for a mildly narcotic effect. Some of them also sold the mixture to foreigners in entertainment centers in Pattaya.

After their initial investigation, the police charged the suspects with illegally producing and possessing a Type-5 drug (Mitragyna speciosa). The Type-5 category is the least punitive offense that includes cannabis and magic mushrooms.

Police sent all of the defendants to the investigation officer of Nong Preu police station to prosecute further according to the law.

The Mitragyna speciosa is an indigenous plant of Thailand with medicinal properties. It is not considered addictive or particularly harmful, but was made illegal in Thailand in 1943.

Reportedly the Thai government banned plant not for medical reasons, but because it was increasingly being used by opium dealers as an alternative to selling opium, which was being taxed by the government. So the Thai government banned the plant, to prevent the opium dealers from selling it.

The Mitragyna speciosa was later classified as a Type-5 drug in the 1979 Narcotics Act.

Category : Crime News

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