The Irrawaddy

Record Narcotics Haul in Shan State

Drugs seized from the house of Lao Yao. Photo

MANDALAY — Myanmar’s Minister of Home Affairs reported a record haul of narcotics from northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township on Wednesday.

Seizure of more than 12 kilos of heroin and 4,000 methamphetamine tablets from two men at a tollgate at the exit of Hseni Township, by the Lashio police force’s anti-drug department on Tuesday, led to the record of 72.8 billion kyats worth of confiscated drugs.

According to a statement of the home affairs ministry, the local joint forces – the police anti-drug branch and the army – searched an abandoned house in Lwel Kan village, Kutkai Township, following the tollgate investigation of the two men.

“The joint forces seized 30 million pieces of methamphetamine tablets, 1,750 kilos of Ice, 502 kilos of heroin, and 200 kilos of caffeine, worth 72,800 million kyats, from the house of Lao Yao during the raid,” said the statement.

“The amount is equal to one-fifth of total narcotics seizures in 2017,” the statement continued.

Kyaw Tun and Sai Hla Kyaw, who were arrested in Hseni Township, and Yan Aae and Ku Kyan Lyan—the alleged owners of the seized drugs—were charged under anti-narcotics acts. Police are still in search of Lao Yao, the owner of the house in Lwel Kan village.

According to local lawmakers, Hseni and Kutkai regions have seen an increase in drug abuse, particularly among youth, in recent years.

“The number of youth using drugs is increasing. Even teenagers – aged 13 – have been among those arrested,” said Daw Nan Khin Htar Yee, a lawmaker from Hseni constituency.

The lawmaker said there were numbers of local civil society groups that address drug dealers and users, but that those groups have never played a part in large-scale drug busts.

“There hasn’t been an arrest like this before. We hope authorities arrest more drug dealers, to stop the drug abuse in the region for the future of our youth, she added.