Yaba smuggling rises ahead of Eid amid crackdown
Desk Report: Despite the ongoing crackdown against drug traders, smuggling of various deadly drugs like yaba into the country has marked a sharp rise ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, reports Daily Sun.
Detective sources said drug traffickers have become active targeting the Eid festival and they are bringing yaba tablets and phensidyl syrup to the country from neighbouring Myanmar and India respectively.
Many believe that smuggling of yaba into the country is not being stopped as top drug smugglers allegedly backed by a section of ruling party men still remain untouched. Sometimes, a number of field-level yaba carriers are being arrested by law enforcers. In most of the cases, yaba godfathers allegedly maintain good relations with the ruling party men to avoid arrest, detective sources said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah said they have been conducting drives targeting listed drug spots at different parts of the capital and picking up those with narcotics. “Drug peddlers have no place in Dhaka city,” he said, adding that by turn, all the branded drug spots in the capital would be demolished.
“We have drawn up a list of drug dealers based on intelligence agencies’ information. They will be brought to book,” he said, adding that the drug dealers have to pay for their misdeeds.
Since the law enforcers began hunting for drug suspects across the country, more than 200 suspected drug dealers have been killed so far in ‘gunfights’ with law enforcers. Both the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police officials claimed that the deceased were either drug peddlers or accused in such cases.
RAB Director (media) Wing Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan said a number of drug traders are regularly being arrested with drug items from different parts of the country.
They are also being awarded various terms of imprisonment on charges of carrying drug.
They again get involved in the same drug business after coming out of jail on bail, he added.
In such a situation, the directorate of drug control has proposed to set up separate courts in the country’s 64 districts for quick disposal of drug cases. But the proposal is yet to be passed.
Sources said evading eyes of the law enforcers, including Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and coast guards, consignment of such yaba is entering into the country from Myanmar through different bordering points of Cox’s bazaar.
Women are also getting involved in drug business, they said, adding that people are joining the drug smuggling syndicates who have been earning huge amount of black money through yaba smuggling.
The drug traffickers are opening new fronts and new routes, and adopting new technology in their operation to mislead the law-enforcement agencies, sources said.
The production of deadly yaba tablets continues unabated even after the government has banned import of its key ingredient.
The government banned pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient of yaba tablet, since February last year but the drug is being manufactured secretly using local methods. Since the ingredient is used for manufacturing other medicines, drug dealers are collecting it from these medicines to produce yaba.
Pharmacists say pseudoephedrine is a chemical which is used to manufacture 20-25 medicines. The chemical can easily be isolated from medicines. The situation has become so difficult to control that the authorities are now mulling over stopping the manufacturing of those medicines in which pseudoephedrine is used.
During a recent meeting organised by the home ministry, it was said that even though the import of pseudoephedrine was banned, the manufacturing of the medicines in which it is used as an ingredient was not stopped.
Medicines, which contain pseudoephedrine, are usually used to treat lungs, ear inflammation, sore throats, respiratory problems and allergies.
Local pharmaceutical companies produce tablets and syrups with this ingredient.
According to the Department of Narcotic Control (DNC), over the last five years, import of these medicines which contain pseudoephedrine has increased several times higher than earlier.
During his Myanmar visit in October last year, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal urged Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to take initiatives to stop yaba production. Suu Kyi retorted that the ingredient of producing yaba was available in Bangladesh, said an official of the home ministry.