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Thai Narcotics Suppression Police Seize 5.3 Million Methamphetamine Pills, $30 Million USD




CHIANG RAI – Thai Narcotics Suppression Police announced Friday a huge seizure of more than 5.3 million methamphetamine pills — worth about $30 million USD — believed to have been smuggled from the Golden Triangle area of Myanmar.

The drugs bust is one of the kingdom’s largest in years and reflects  soaring production of amphetamine-type stimulants in Myanmar, which is emerging  from decades of military rule.
Six people were arrested in two related seizures of the pills, known as  yaba — “crazy medicine” — found at a house in Nonthaburi near Bangkok and in  a truck in the central province of Phetchabun, authorities said.
“We seized around 5.3 million yaba pills worth around one billion baht,”  Police Lieutenant General Surapol Thuanthong of the Narcotics Suppression  Bureau told AFP by telephone.
He said the pills were produced in Myanmar and smuggled through the Golden  Triangle region, where the remote edges of Chiang Rai, Myanmar and Laos meet.
“Now production is increasing because it makes a lot of profits”, Surapol  said. “Minority groups have small factories to make them.”
It is estimated that at least 1.4 billion yaba tablets — with an estimated  street value of $8.5 billion — are being produced each year in the Golden  Triangle region, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
There are an estimated 600,000 yaba users in Thailand.
The drug is mostly made in isolated mobile laboratories hidden in the  forests of Shan state in Myanmar, which is also still the second-largest global  source of opium after Afghanistan.
The drugs trade is closely linked to Myanmar’s long-running insurgencies in  remote border areas, with ethnic minority rebels widely thought to use the  profits to fund their operations.

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