Thai army says 6 drug smugglers killed in gunfight

The Thai army says six drug smugglers were fatally shot in a gunbattle in the country's north when they were confronted by soldiers.

An army statement said the soldiers had received a tipoff about a drug smuggling route in the northern province of Chiang Mai. When they saw a group of men with backpacks hiking past their stakeout late Wednesday night, they ordered them to stop for an inspection but were met with gunfire.

It said six of the men were killed and two wounded in a 15-minute firefight. Soldiers seized 554,000 methamphetamine tablets, 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of heroin, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of opium, an AK-47 assault rifle and a short-barreled rifle.

The area is a traditional smuggling route for drugs produced largely in neighboring Myanmar.