Four agencies to tackle prison drug trade

February 9, 2012

Four major government agencies have agreed to jointly tackle the drug trade in prison with the Corrections Department being the coordinator, Justice Ministy spokesman Thirachai Wuthitham said Wednesday.

The four agencies are the Corrections Department, Department of Special Investigation (DSI), the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), and Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo).

Mr Thirachai said a meeting of the four agencies had agreed the Corrections Department should coordinate the joint operation.

DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said his deputy Pol Col Yanpol Yangyuen would be responsible for using electronic devices to tap the telephone conversations of drug suspects. The Corrections Department will supply the DSI with information on suspected individuals and groups of people as well as areas targetted for eavesdropping, he said.

Corrections Department director-general Suchart Wongananchai said his department would obtain information on the drug trade in prisons and pass it to the DSI for evaluation.

Information involving financial transactions would be passed to Amlo.

Any Corrections Department officials found to be involved in the drug trade would be investigated by the PACC for further action.

Pol Col Suchart said the Corrections Department alone could not tackle the problem, so help from other agencies was needed.

He said in the past four months he had sacked 18 warders for involvement in the drug trade and seized more than 1,500 mobile phones in prisons.

PACC secretary-general Dussadee Arayawuthi said his agency had proposed that all prison officials be subject to lie detector tests and also have their urine tested for drugs.

The DSI should also check records of telephones use by jailers whose behaviour was suspicious, for example spending beyond their income and gambling, Pol Col Dussadee said.

On Wednesday morning, more than 100 illegal items were discovered in Khao Bin Central Prison in Ratchaburi during searches when police raided two areas of the facility.

Ratchaburi governor Chomchuen Bunyanuson together with a team of police and correctional officers raided zone 7 and zone 9 of Khao Bin about 5am after some notorious convicted drug dealers had been transferred from Klong Pai Central Prison in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Authorities found a cell phone hidden in an inmate’s locker. They also found four SIM cards, cell phone chargers, cables, gambling accessories and sharp improvised weapons.

Khao Bin Central Prison has beefed up security in preparation to receive 200 drug inmates being transferred from other jails.

The Corrections Department chief said on Tuesday that Khao Bin has the best security protection system of all prisons nationwide.

The department plans to isolate convicted drug inmates suspected of maintaining connections with the illicit drug trade outside prison from other prisoners.

In Surin province, authorities this morning raided Rattanaburi Central Prison and found crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, and cell phones.

A team of about 260 police, administrative and correctional officers conducted an intensive search this morning.

They discovered a packet of crystal methamphetamine, drug tools, eight mobile phones, 10 phone chargers, five SIM cards, eight sharp objects and modified weapons, and tattoo needles.

Police were interrogating all inmates to track down the drug traders in the prison.

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