Thailand seizes nearly $1 billion worth of ketamine

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has seized almost $1 billion worth of contraband ketamine, most of it probably destined for Europe, Japan or Korea, the Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau said on Thursday.

Montri Yimyaem, head of the bureau, said the size of the haul pointed to a multinational network, and that Thailand would pursue it with other countries and international agencies.

“The drug is not popular in Thailand, and is mostly sold abroad, including Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Japan and Korea,” he said.

In medicine, ketamine is used as an anaesthetic or an anti-depressant, but as a recreational drug it is used to induce dreamy or trance-like sensations, and sometimes hallucinations.

Investigators found 457 25-kg bags of the drug, worth around 29 billion baht altogether, at a warehouse in Chachoengsao province, east of Bangkok.

They had expanded their investigation after 300 kg of ketamine that had come from Thailand was found in Taiwan.

“This discovery is only the beginning, there will be further investigations to seize ill-gotten gains connected to drug smuggling,” said Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsutin.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat, writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Kevin Liffey