Police Say Drugs Worth Nearly $2B Found Floating off Myanmar’s Coast

By Salai Thant Zin 18 October 2019

PATHEIN, Ayeyarwady Region—Nearly 3 trillion kyats (US$1.96 billion) worth of narcotics believed to be the methamphetamine known as ice were found adrift on Wednesday in the sea some 28 km from Bawa Thit Village-Tract in Pyapon Township, Ayeyarwady Region, police said.

Fishermen found a large number of sacks adrift in the sea near Bawa Thit’s Ashae Pyar Village. The fishermen were able to salvage 23 of the sacks, which they handed over to their employers. When their employers opened the sacks, they found drugs and handed the sacks over to the police.

“We assume those drugs are ice. We haven’t sent them yet to the lab but we are almost sure they are ice and we are conducting further investigations,” Colonel Shwe Thaung, head of the Ayeyarwady Region Police Force, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

A total of 649 packs of drugs, each weighing 1 kg, worth a total of 2.92 trillion kyats were found in the 23 sacks, according to the police. The authorities said this was the largest seizure ever made in Ayeyarwady Region, in terms of the quantity and value of the drugs.

Ice is the purest and most potent form of methamphetamine. Police have opened a case about the seizure under the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Law.

“Drugs and cattle are usually smuggled by water to Bangladesh. Drugs are smuggled from Yangon and Pyapon. Cattle are smuggled from Bogale,” said a Pyapon resident on condition of anonymity. “I think [smugglers] dropped those drugs out of fear when they saw a navy patrol.”

Police Col. Shwe Thaung said the Ayeyarwady Region police force has created plans to prevent drug smuggling both by land and water, adding that a drug squad was also formed in Pyapon to fight drug smuggling.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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