06/27/2019, 15.41
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More narcotics seized in northern Myanmar destroyed

The illicit drugs torched in three cities were evidence in 3,975 court cases heard last year. Violence, corruption, money laundering, transnational crime and armed resistance facilitate the spread of drugs. Opium production is falling but that of synthetic drugs is increasing.

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In three cities, Myanmar authorities destroyed narcotics seized in 2018 to mark the 32nd International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. So far this year, the quantity of narcotics seized by security forces in the north of the country surpassed last year’s.

In a ceremony at the Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 in Nay Pyi Taw, President U Win Myint said that drugs damage the health, social relations and livelihood of many people.

Narcotics, he added, are linked to violence, corruption, money laundering, transnational crime and armed resistance in the country. Hence, he urged his compatriots to join the government in its efforts against drugs.

In 2018, the anti-narcotics police unit burnt 24 kinds of drugs in northern Myanmar, including heroin and amphetamine, worth more than US $ 11.3 million.

This year, the authorities destroyed 32 kinds of drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, and pseudoephedrine, worth more than US$ 42 million.

The drugs burnt at the stadium in Aung Myay Tharzan township, Mandalay Region, on Wednesday were confiscated in Mandalay, Magwe and Sagaing regions, Chin and Kachin states.

Illegal drugs seized in Yangon, Tanintharyi, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions, and Rakhine, Mon and Kayin states were also destroyed in Yangon, but the amount was a little less than last year.

The authorities burnt opium, heroin, stimulants, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, various forms of kratom, hydrochloric acid, ecstasy, ketamine, diazepam, alprazolam, methadone and tramadol worth a total 8 million, less than last year.

Myanmar authorities torched illegal drugs worth .6 million in 2016, .5 million in 2017 and 3.27 million in 2018.

Narcotics worth more than K12 billion (US$ 7.9 million) were torched in Mine Lar, Shan State, mostly from northern Shan (pictured) and China. They included crystal methamphetamine, heroin, and raw opium. 

The narcotics incinerated on Wednesday were evidence in 3,975 cases heard by the courts in 2018.

The ingredients used in manufacturing these drugs enter the country via neighbouring countries. The production sites are in unstable border areas, and more than 90 per cent of money laundering is related to illegal drugs.

In 2017 Myanmar had 41,000 hectares of poppies and produced 550 tonnes of opium. In 2018, it had 37,300 hectares producing 520 tonnes of opium, a decrease of 9.1 per cent and 5.45 per cent respectively. But the manufacture of illegal synthetic drugs is increasing.

Last year, Myanmar authorities seized a record amount of methamphetamine. In January, the Myanmar military and police seized 30 million yaba pills (a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine), 1,750 kg of crystal meth, and more than 500 kg of heroin with a domestic value of some US$ 54 million.

In the last two years, seizures of shipments from the Golden Triangle have also been made in other countries: 2.1 tonnes in Australia, 1.6 tonnes in Indonesia and 1.2 tonnes in Malaysia.

Experts estimate that seizures represent 10 per cent of total trade, suggesting an annual production of more than 250 tonnes. In the entire Mekong region, the total value of traffic is estimated at over US$ 40 billion a year.

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