Petrol Truck Drug Smuggler Alters Story Following Arrest in Thailand

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Nong Khai customs officers photographed with the seized drugs | (Photo: Nong Khai News)

Thai police have said that the arrested driver who attempted to smuggle drugs into the country in an oil tanker last week has changed his version of the incident.

The arrest took place during a routine check where Thai officers discovered millions of amphetamine pills in a petrol tanker crossing the Laos-Thai Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai.  And the driver’s latest confession on Monday appeared to contradict what he stated last week.

The driver, 53-year-old Praseuth Panphoum, informed the police last week that a rich Lao woman from Bolikhamxay Province paid him a large amount of money to deliver the narcotic substances.

However, on Monday, he changed his story, now claiming that it was his friend, currently in jail, that had persuaded him to carry the load. He added that his imprisoned friend’s Lao wife helped him move the drugs across borders.

Despite his revised story, the driver said that he would be the only one taking responsibility for the crime. He also reiterated that the company whose truck he was driving was not involved in the crime.

According to Thai police, the 53-year-old also admitted to removing a GPS tracking device from his vehicle as he was undertaking criminal activities and did not want his company to know.

“He had removed his GPS three to four months ago to start delivering drugs on this tanker, after working with his current company for almost a year,” said Thai police officials who are now looking into arresting more people involved with this case. They said that the driver had been trafficking drugs such as marijuana and amphetamines since 2014.

“He would sign up for various companies using his expertise in driving tankers to transport drugs from one place to another, like Southern Isan to Nong Khai,” added the Thai police.

The Lao Cosmetic company CEO who was earlier believed by netizens to be involved in this incident also posted a Facebook live stream denying her connection to the crime.

At the same time, the driver’s previous employer, NTP Public Company, issued an official notice stating that it had no role or knowledge about the incident as well.