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Myanmar’s Unrest Triggers Rise in Golden Triangle Drug Trade

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Myanmar's Unrest Triggers Rise in Golden Triangle Drug Trade

As Myanmar slumps deeper into chaos, and armed rebel groups hunt money to stockpile guns to fight the army known as the Tatmadaw, drug suppression experts say stemming the flow of precursors is the only way to slow drug production in the Golden Triangle.

Until then, regional police fear the flow of drugs from the Golden Triangle is going to worsen, with the crime bosses at the apex of an estimated trade worth up to $60 billion a year so rich and connected they remain beyond arrest.

Montree Yimyam, commissioner of Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau, told reporters meth production in the region has gone into overdrive since Myanmar’s February 1 military coup unsettled the complex balance of power in the Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle is an area dominated by warlords, armed militias, gunrunners and drug traffickers, say law enforcement officials. Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are within this mountainous corner.

Commissioner Montree reports Thailand, the main route for Myanmar meth to the Asia-Pacific, has so far this year seized more than 300 million meth pills known as “yaba,” or crazy medicine, and nearly 20 tons of the highly addictive crystal meth, or “ice” — double last year’s haul over the same period.

Fighting in Myanmar

It is the consequence of ruptured cease-fires among Myanmar’s ethnic rebel groups as a result of the coup that ousted the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Fighting in Myanmar near the drug production sites is forcing out the products at a higher volume than usual,” according to Police Major Gen Pornchai Charoenwong, deputy commissioner of Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB).

The drugs flow through Thailand, but then sweep out to the Asia-Pacific, officials say.

Laos is the poor, landlocked Communist-run neighbor to Myanmar’s Shan State, where most of the meth is manufactured. Furthermore it borders China where the drug syndicated get raw materials of precursor chemicals from Chinese factories to make methamphetamine.

It is the key route into the Golden Triangle for precursor chemicals, as well as the main exit point for the end product — the highly addictive synthetic drugs to the Asia-Pacific market.

The drugs flow through Thailand, but then sweep out to the Asia-Pacific, Gen Pornchai says.

Source: VOA, CTN News

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