Indian pair face Thai drug smuggling charges

Two Indian men have been arrested and charged in Thailand with trafficking crystal methamphetamine worth an estimated $1.4 million, a customs official said Friday.

The suspects were detained Thursday on the holiday island of Samui after flying in from Chennai in southern India via Singapore.

Custom authorities said they had found 12.3 kilos (27 pounds) of methamphetamine hydrochloride, known as "Ice", in their luggage.

Traffickers often try to smuggle drugs though regional airports as security is tight at Bangkok's main air gateway, said Paisal Chuenjit, director of the Customs Department's Investigation and Suppression Bureau.

"I'm sure that part of the drugs were destined for users in Bangkok because Ice is popular among wealthy people," he added.

He said both suspects had confessed that they were hired to bring the drugs to Thailand.

If convicted they could in theory face the death sentence although Thailand has not executed anyone since 2009.

Their arrest came two days after an Indonesian man was arrested at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport with crystal methamphetamine worth an estimated $500,000 after arriving from India.