Drug Precursors Worth $1.7 Million Seized in Northern Burma

By Zarni Mann 15 June 2016

MANDALAY — Anti narcotics police in Mandalay and Sagaing divisions on Tuesday seized over 2 billion kyats (US$1.7 million) worth of pseudoephedrine tablets and powder.

According to police sources, the interception in Sagaing town of a passenger car, carrying 61.5 kilograms of pseudoephedrine powder, traveling from the India-Burma border town of Tamu to Mandalay City has led police to other drug traders in Mandalay.

“After questioning the two men arrested in Sagaing, we learned that the powder was being taken to people in Aungmyaythazan Township of Mandalay [City],” deputy police Col Myint Aung from Drug Elimination Police Force Division 1 told The Irrawaddy.

“We’ve arrested two women and a man [in Mandalay], and seized pseudoephedrine tablets and powder weighing about 500 kilograms. They have been charged with illegal drug trading and they are currently in police detention,” Col Myint Aung added.

Col Myint Aung later informed The Irrawaddy that, close to midnight, police made five more arrests, three women and two men, in Pyigyitagon Township in Mandalay City. More chemical substances were seized at this time.

Pseudoephedrine—a stimulant also prescribed for medical purposes—is combined with other chemicals to produce amphetamine-type drugs, the domestic market for which has been growing in Burma in recent years, with a particularly severe affect on urban youth.

“We are pursuing the other drug traders, cooperating with police from Sagaing Division, because these traders came from Tamu in Sagaing Division,” said Col Myint Aung.

According to police, the India-Burma border at Tamu is a significant transit point for drugs entering Burma; drug traders have been caught repeatedly using this route.

The incident on Tuesday is the second largest drugs haul recorded in Mandalay, after the seizure of 36 billion kyats ($30 million) worth of drugs and precursor chemicals in Pyigyitagon Township in March.