Meth seizures shoot up in Myanmar's Rakhine

2017-10-22 21:17
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Yangon - Myanmar police seized more than $5m worth of methamphetamine pills in the north of violence-racked Rakhine state this month, an officer said on Sunday.

Millions of the caffeine-laced meth tablets were intercepted in Maungdaw district, the centre of an army-led crackdown that has driven more than half a million Rohingya Muslims to flee across the border into Bangladesh in just two months.

High demand

Myanmar troops poured into the area in late August to launch a counter-offensive against Rohingya militants who attacked police posts. This grew into a full-blown ethnic cleansing campaign against the Muslim minority, according to the UN and others.

As the region reels from the refugee crisis, a lucrative narcotics trade continues across the border into Bangladesh, where there is high demand for the addictive meth pills known by their Thai name "yaba" or "crazy medicine.

"We have seized more than three million stimulant tablets from five drugs trafficking cases starting from this month in Maungdaw," said local anti-drugs officer Maung Maung Yin.

It was the largest monthly haul in the area since February when police launched a statewide anti-narcotics operation, he said.

Trafficking

"We seized these drugs while we were working to enforce tight security in the area because of the situation," the officer added, in reference to the violence that seen hundreds of Rohingya villages torched.

Seven ethnic Rakhine men - who, apart from the Rohingya are the other main minority group based in the area - have been arrested in connection with the trafficking, he said.


Read more on:    myanmar  |  narcotics

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