The head of Thailand’s anti-drugs effort has apologised after officers auctioned off a car that was carrying tens of thousands of methamphetamine pills.
Officers had seized the vehicle in a 2019 case in the northern province of Chiang mai, which saw two men charged for 100,000 pills that were sitting on the car’s back seat, according to the Bangkok Post.
However after the white Honda CR-V was sold on at auction for 586,000 baht (£14,677), a mechanic who had been tasked with fixing its dented rear bumper uncovered a secret compartment used to store 94,000 pills known colloquially as yaba.
Secretary general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board Niyom Termsrisuk said he had advised officers to search vehicles more thoroughly in the future.
“According to protocols, we search every vehicle we have received and this case was no exception.
“However, we couldn't find anything at the time, perhaps because the pills had been well hidden".
According to 2017 prices previously cited by the ONCB, the pills carry a total street value of 7,520,000 bhat – equivalent to around £180,000 and more than 12 times the value of the vehicle they were hidden in.
Both the garage worker and the car’s new owner are expected to be rewarded for the tip off, according to ONCB regulations.
Translating to “crazy medicine”, the relatively cheap drug is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine, and has spread widely across south East Asia over the last decade.
In 2018 Thai authorities are estimated to have seized 516million of the pills, more than double the previous year and four-and-a-half times the 114 million pills captured in 2016.