Drug Bust in Sittwe Sparks Speculation of Rangoon Ring

By Moe Myint 28 June 2016

RANGOON — Police seized nearly 800,000 methamphetamine and stimulant pills from suspected drug trafficker Kyaw Thu Lin at the Sakrokyeya Jetty in the Arakan State capital of Sittwe on Monday.

Aung Myint Oo, the head of Sittwe’s No. 2 Police Station, confirmed the seizure and said they had launched an investigation into the origin of the drugs. The police’s report said the suspect was planning to deliver the shipment, which came from North Dagon, Rangoon, to a monk near Burma’s border with Bangladesh.

Police estimate the drugs are worth more than 2.3 billion kyats (US$1.95 million). According to Aung Myint Oo, this is the second largest drug confiscation in Arakan State this year. A representative from the Buthidaung police confirmed to The Irrawaddy that over 1 million pills were seized in Buthidaung Township at the end of December 2015.

“Kyaw Thu Lin is just a transporter,” said Aung Myint Oo. “The [drugs] came from Rangoon and now we are trying to trace their route.”

Speculation on social media was widespread that this seizure was linked to the largest drug confiscation in Burmese history, which was worth 133 billion kyats (nearly US$113 million) and seized in Rangoon in July 2015.

The police chief declined to provide details on a possible Rangoon connection.

“We cannot provide some information to the media yet because we are still in the process of verification,” he said.