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Thai Soldiers Clash With Alleged Drug Traffickers, Kill 13 - 2002-03-23

Thai soldiers have clashed with a group of alleged drug traffickers, killing 13 and seizing more than a million methamphetamine tablets.

Thai army officials say they received a tip that an illegal shipment of methamphetamine pills was to be smuggled into Chiang Mai Province near the border with Burma.

Thai soldiers set up an ambush late Friday. A gun battle ensued. Thirteen suspected drug traffickers and one solider were killed. The army seized $1.6 million tablets of the stimulant methamphetamine.

Thailand's mountainous border area with Burma and Laos is known as one of the world's biggest drug producing and smuggling regions.

The illegal drug issue is a major source of contention between Thailand and Burma. Bangkok has accused Rangoon of ignoring the problem and allowing Burma's former Wa rebels to traffic drugs in the area.