Thai officials accidentally auction off car loaded with drugs

Thailand’s anti-drugs authority has apologised after it accidentally auctioned off a car hiding tens of thousands of amphetamine tablets.

A buyer paid 586,000 baht ($19,000; £14,500) for the Honda CR-V car, which was put up for auction this month after being seized in a drugs case last year.

But when it was sent to a garage for alterations, a mechanic discovered 94,000 pills stashed in its bumper.

Officials said they would conduct more thorough searches in 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,” said Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), according to the Bangkok Post.

Mr Termsrisuk said the yaba pills – a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine – were discovered in boxes hidden in a secret compartment behind the vehicle’s bumper.

When the car was seized in the northern province of Chiang Rai last year, 100,000 such pills were found on its back seat.

Mr Termsrisuk said the additional pills would be added to the case, and that the mechanic and new owner would be rewarded for their cooperation.

Yaba, which means “crazy medicine” in Thai, is typically smuggled into Thailand from Myanmar and sold as cheap red or pink pills.

Authorities in Thailand seized 516 million meth tablets in 2018.