That huge Ketamine bust in Chachoengsao province last week, some 11.5 tonnes (yes tonnes!) of the drug, has turned out to not be quite what it seems. Originally drug officials seized 475 bags, each weighing 25 kilogram. 66 of these bags were tested. What was inside the bags wasn’t Ketamine, as claimed by police, but trisodium phosphate instead. Which brings us to this assistance from Wikipedia…
“TSP is used as a cleaning agent, builder, lubricant, food additive, stain remover, and degreaser.”
Police, it seems, have proudly told the world they’ve seized 11.5 tonnes of food production and chemical additive… the sort of thing you may need 11.5 tonnes of. Even the Taiwanese media were gloating about the co-operation of their local drug officials. From the Taiwan News.
“Thepsutin said the bust was the largest quantity of drugs seized in Thailand and was jointly conducted by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau. He said the two main suspects, both Thai nationals, were arrested before they could ship the drugs overseas.”
Yesterday, the Narcotics Drug Board secretary-general Vichai Chaimongkol took the media to inspect the seized product that were stored securely at their Region 1 warehouse and explain the apparent faux pas. There was one big clue – all the bags had a large TSP logo on them.
There was worldwide headlines on November 12 after Thai drug officials discovered 11.5 tonnes of what they claimed was the drug ketamine in Chachoengsao. The market value of the drugs was reported to be 28.7 billion baht. It was indeed newsworthy.
Back in September, Taiwanese drug officials seized a shipment of 300 kilograms of ketamine hidden in bags, similar to the ones seized I Thailand 10 days ago. Taiwanese officials alerted their Thai counterparts, leading to the search for the contraband Ketamine. The Thai ‘drug squad’ started checking around warehouses in Chachoengsao and found the 475 sacks that looked like the bags of Ketamine the Taiwanese officials had described to them.
Now, the NCB will invite scientist working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to assisting in testing the contents of the remaining 409 bags and checking whether any ketamine is stashed away in any of them.
Meanwhile, this shipment of alleged Ketamine, aka. Special K, from Taiwan to Thailand, remains elusive.