On Friday night, 3 suspected drug couriers were arrested and 1.6 million speed pills were seized following a clash in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district in which one ranger was wounded, local officials said yesterday.
A team of rangers from the Pha Muang task force spotted a group of 10 to 15 Muser hill tribe men carrying bags in a forest area around 7.30 pm on Friday. The team signalled to them to stop for a search but the men refused and opened fire. The rangers returned fire and the exchange went on for about 20 minutes.
One ranger, Ranger Sawat Na Chon, was shot in the right foot and taken to hospital after the men had fled, said Maj Gen Narit Thavornwong, commander of the task force, yesterday.
Five teams of soldiers and police were later brought in as reinforcements to search the area overnight.
At around 5.30 am yesterday, officers found 3 members of the drug caravan hiding in the forest. 16 rucksacks containing 1.6 million speed pills were seized, said Maj Gen Thavornwong.
The 3 suspects were taken to the Mae Chan police station for further legal action, he said.
Troops and police were yesterday expanding the search to nearby areas as they believe some other members of the gang might have been injured in the clash and could be immobile and hiding nearby.