Over 79 kilograms of heroin and 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” were seized on Oct. 24 by the Burmese anti-narcotics bureau in Tachilek Township on the Thai-Burmese border, according to local police.
It was the largest drugs seizure in Burma this year.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, a police officer in Tachilek said they had seized 159 blocks of heroin plus 50 kilograms of ice which had been hidden in two local houses. He said that each block of heroin weighed half a kilogram.
The source said that the police busted the houses after receiving an anonymous tip-off.
Three people—one ethnic Akha woman and two Chinese men—were arrested and are currently being detained in Tachilek's jail.
The police officer said the detainees were under investigation but could not confirm whether the three are related to an organized drug trafficking group.
The seized heroin was almost certainly due to be transported to Thailand, he said.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is regarded as the biggest player in Shan State’s illicit drugs business.
The latest clash between the Thai army and the UWSA on Sept. 27 left one Thai soldier dead.
Thailand's Office of the Narcotics Control Board has reported that the methamphetamine trade into Thailand has more than tripled in the past year, adding that methamphetamine produced by the armed ethnic groups in Burma was being exchanged for weapons in preparation for conflict against the Burmese army.
According to NGO Shan Drug Watch, there are now 46 areas under drug cultivation in Shan State despite the UN Office on Drugs and Crime supporting a decade-old drug eradication program.
Burmese government forces have been involved in taxing local people that grow opium, says Shan Drug Watch.
The US State Department last year reported that Burma is a significant player in the manufacture and regional trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants, adding that a large amount of the drugs from Burma end up in Thailand.
The Thai government has signed an agreement with other governments of the Greater Mekong Subregion, including the Burmese government, to eliminate illegal drug trafficking in the region.
The Burmese military regime reported that last year it destroyed 7,893 acres of opium poppy fields in Shan and Kachin states.
Burma is the world's second largest producer of heroin after Afghanistan, according to US and UN experts.
By LAWI WENG
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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