SITTWE, Rakhine State — The Myanmar Police Force reported a large illicit drug haul in Rakhine State’s Buthidaung Township on Wednesday.
Border guard police patrolling the May Yu River found a total 1,599,000 methamphetamine tablets on a boat hidden in mangrove swamps along a creek near the village of Lai Shae Pyin. The cache has an estimated market value of about 3.1 billion kyats ($2.2 million).
“We are searching other possible places together with officials from the township General Administration Department to find out more,” police Major Kyaw Thura Win told The Irrawaddy.
He said police believed the drugs were destined for neighboring Bangladesh.
Lawmaker U Tun Aung Thein, who represents Buthidaung in the state legislature’s Lower House, told The Irrawaddy that the local drug problem has gotten so bad that even schoolchildren were now using drugs.
“We can assume that it is because of a lack of the rule of law that drugs can be very easily bought in our township even though there are many battalions and police stations here,” he said. “The government should take a tough line by adopting a comprehensive plan.”
Owing to the dangers of confronting drug dealers themselves, he added, “we can’t actively engage in fighting drugs. It is too risky for us.”
The government launched a “May Yu” anti-narcotics operation in the area in February 2017, but to little apparent avail.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.