33 year old dealer behind killer drug cocktail, who shot his girlfriend, arrested and charged by police
Amornthep Chalermwat was located by police in Phetchabun province in Thailand’s northwest hiding with a former prison cellmate in a room that had no official address. He had fled Bangkok after shooting and seriously injuring his girlfriend the week previously.
Police officers in Bangkok believe they have already collared the mastermind behind the deadly ‘K Nompong’ drug cocktail which has, so far, claimed 10 lives in the city and left many others hospitalised. However, Metropolitan Police Bureau officers and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board are now pursuing the source of the deadly anti-anxiety drug diazepam more commonly known by its brand name, Valium, which constituted between 93 and 98% of the killer substance.
Police investigators in Bangkok are building a case against a 33-year-old criminal who has already spent 12 years in prison as the mastermind behind the deadly K Nompong drug cocktail deaths. The havoc caused by the lethal drug mixture began last week and so far, has claimed ten lives and hospitalised at least five.
The man was arrested by police at an apartment in the Bung Sam Phan district of Phetchabun province in Northwest Thailand on Sunday night, over 305 km from Bangkok, after he had taken flight from the city.
Amornthep Chalermwat, also known as ‘Aun Kiwi’, appeared in court in Bangkok on Tuesday charged with firearms offences and the attempted murder of his girlfriend.
Drug kingpin tracked down to a room in Phetchabun
The drug kingpin had been staying in a one-roomed flat which had no official address with a former cellmate from prison.
Mr Amornthep was identified to police at Phra Krai Police Station, in Bangkok, following the tragic death of a 22-year-old woman named as Panipak Chantharawarawan, a young person who worked in the PR industry.
She and her boyfriend, Thatchai Klomjai, had taken what they thought was the methamphetamine based cocktail over a week ago when they both passed out unconscious.
Later, on January 10th, Mr Thatchai regained consciousness only to discover that his girlfriend was already dead beside him.
Earlier shot and seriously injured his girlfriend
33-year-old Amornthep Chalermwat had earlier shot his girlfriend seriously wounding her in the Chatuchak district of the city. His girlfriend was named by police as Apisa Hongkhan.
She had been attacked by her boyfriend on the same day, January 10th.
Metropolitan Police Bureau officers suspect that the woman had earlier stolen batches of the K Nompong product from his stash and sold them on without his knowledge.
Police have so far arrested nearly a dozen people in connection with the case which has been given the highest priority.
An associate of Mr Amornthep, Kulnathee Lemloy, who is believed to be a drug distributor, was also arrested by police and is being interrogated. Mr Amornthep has fingered this man as the source of his supply.
The accused man has strenuously denied all charges brought against him. He insists that he has nothing to do with the deaths from the K Nompong drug.
Cocktail included anti-anxiety drug diazepam
The investigation has led to cooperation between police services and Office of the Narcotics Control Board officials working on the investigation attempting to identify the source of the deadly drug in the noxious cocktail.
At a press conference last week, Somsak Thepsutin, the Minister of Justice, revealed that the main component of the K Nompong substance was an anti-anxiety drug called diazepam also sold under the brand name Valium.
Tests conducted on the bodies of victims of the drug cocktail revealed that between 93 and 98% of the ‘milk powdered’ narcotic constituted this substance.
The minister explained to the press that most Valium pills contain 2 milligrammes of diazepam with the highest dose containing ten.
The pure diazepam used in this narcotic contained up to 200 milligrammes of the tranquiliser drug, at least twenty times over the fatal limit and the equivalent of 100 valium pills.
Boss of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board wants police to find out how local drug dealers had access to the controlled substance
Vichai Chaimongkol, the Secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, told the media in recent days that tests on the K Nompong drug showed that the substance contained 90% pure diazepam.
The drug is a controlled and regulated one in Thailand used by medical professionals and dispensed by pharmacies only with a prescription. Police are now looking at the list of distributors and importers of the substance in Thailand as part of their investigation.
‘From our initial investigation, the diazepam is likely to have been smuggled from abroad, or smuggled out of pharmacies,’ Mr Vichai explained.
Metropolitan Police Bureau boss vows to make progress as recovered addicts also face charges
Metropolitan Police Bureau Commissioner, Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong Pongpetra has told the media that he foresaw the investigation making rapid progress this week as police track down the source of the diazepam and bring those responsible for the deaths to justice.
Police have also announced that the drug users who have been hospitalised after ingesting the deadly K Nompong cocktail will still face arrest and prosecution on drug charges once they recover.
Widely popular drug cocktail among young people is being suppressed across the kingdom
The killer cocktail has shocked locals in Bangkok since the first death was reported over the weekend before last by officers at Wat Phraya Krai, Sutthisan and Sai Mai police stations.
The drugs had become wildly popular among young people not only in Thailand’s capital city but in other key urban centres also. The grounded powder substance resembling white milk powder sold for between ฿500 and ฿600 per gram.
A nationwide crackdown on the substance was ordered last week by the National Police Commissioner Police General Suwat Jangyodsuk.
About the Author
Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman’s issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand’s growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.