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Thai Gov’t Suspected of Drug Ties

February 21, 1999

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ About 300 government officials in Thailand’s northeastern provinces are suspected of involvement in the drug trade, a Thai cabinet minister has said.

The officials are on a list at the government’s central anti-drug body, the Office of Narcotics Control Board, Jurin Laksanavisit, who oversees the panel, was quoted as saying Sunday by The Nation newspaper.

The suspects include 60 employees of the Education Ministry, Jurin was quoted as saying, although the report did not specify if they were teachers. He urged government agencies to monitor their own employees for ties to the drug trade, The Nation said.

Thailand has a very active drug trade, and is well known as a market and shipment point for heroin from neighboring Myanmar.

Thai drug officials say their most serious problem, however, is the trafficking and consumption of methamphetamine, a stimulant that is cheaply and easily produced and whose popularity has soared in recent years.

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