Myanmar soldiers nabbed with two million pills in Rakhine, as drug trade defies crisis

The men were held after 1.88 million tablets said to be worth around $2.8 million were found in a military vehicle in the town of Maungdaw on October 1.

Published: 03rd October 2017 06:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd October 2017 06:04 PM   |  A+A-


Image for representational purpose only.


YANGON: Two Myanmar soldiers are being questioned after they were caught with nearly two million "yaba" pills in restive Rakhine state, police said Tuesday, as the drugs trade goes on despite communal violence.

The men were held after 1.88 million tablets said to be worth around $2.8 million were found in a military vehicle in the town of Maungdaw on October 1, a senior anti-drugs officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Maungdaw is the epicentre of violence that has left hundreds dead and sent 500,000 Muslim Rohingya residents fleeing into Bangladesh.

Myanmar's army has flooded the area since August 25 in a major offensive designed to flush out Rohingya militants.

But their presence appears to have failed to slow the drug trade.

Yaba, a Thai word meaning "crazy medicine", is a concoction of methamphetamine and caffeine that has become popular among young people in Bangladesh.

Myanmar's western border zone is awash with methamphetamine, most destined for Bangladesh.

There have long been rumours of militants, security forces and local businessmen getting rich on drug trafficking -- a trade that has cut across communal rivalries.

The pills were marked with "WY and R brands", the police source added, referring to popular brands pumped out by the drug lords of Wa state.

The Wa, an ethnic group who have a large standing army and churn out most of Southeast Asia's methamphetamine, are based in the far east of Myanmar, suggesting drug routes have survived the crisis that has engulfed Rakhine.

In recent years Bangladeshi security forces have seized millions of yaba tablets from traffickers attempting to enter its Cox's Bazar area by land and sea.

Last week Bangladesh arrested three Rohingya men attempting to smuggle 800,000 meth pills into the country from Myanmar via the Naf border river at the height of the refugee crisis.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp