Myanmar police seize largest haul of synthetic drugs

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Myanmar police seize largest haul of artificial medicine

  • 19 Might 2020
Weapons, ammunition, alongside bags of crystal methamphetamine Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The medicine have been seized during a three-month-long operation in Shan state

Police in Myanmar have seized South East Asia's largest ever haul of synthetic medicine, the size of which they described as "off the charts".

Greater than 200m methamphetamine tablets, 500kg of crystal methamphetamine and 300kg of heroin have been found in raids in north-east Shan state.

Thirty-three individuals have been arrested within the operations, which have been carried out between February and April.

Myanmar is considered the most important international supply of methamphetamines.

The suspects advised police a lot of the medicine have been destined for sale within Myanmar and in neighbouring nations, Colonel Zaw Lin of Myanmar's counter-narcotics company advised Reuters information agency.

More than three,700 litres of methylfentanyl, a product used to make highly effective opioid fentanyl, was additionally discovered.

Fentanyl is 50 occasions stronger than heroin and greater than 100 occasions more potent than morphine, and has fuelled an opioid crisis within the US.

On average, 130 People die from an opioid overdose daily, based on the US Middle for Disease Control and Prevention.

The changing nature of the drug commerce

Analysis by Danny Vincent, BBC News, Hong Kong

Artificial medicine are changing the character of the worldwide illicit drug commerce.

Laboratory-made medicine are low cost to supply and - in contrast to heroin and different traditional medicine - the manufacturing does not rely on seasonal harvests.

Most of the precursor chemical compounds wanted to synthesise medicine like methamphetamine and fentanyl are made in labs in China and India.

The United Nations Office on Medicine and Crime has linked the rise of artificial drug production across Asia to stylish crime syndicates that source precursor chemical compounds from labs in China and India.

The syndicates then work with militia in battle areas in Myanmar to supply giant quantities of illicit medicine in so-called "tremendous labs".

UNODC South East Asia and Pacific consultant Jeremy Douglas stated the discovery was an indication of a brand new development of synthetic opioid manufacturing rising "on a scale no one anticipated".

Myanmar is the world's second largest producer of opium, after Afghanistan. Its illicit drug commerce has flourished due to its mountainous land and porous borders.

It is situated in the "Golden Triangle", an space shared with China, Laos and Thailand, recognized for supplying medicine, a multi-billion greenback trade.

Between 2018 and 2019, a total of 14 clandestine drug laboratories have been seized in Myanmar.

In 2017, a Buddhist monk was arrested in Myanmar and linked to more than 4 million methamphetamine pills hidden in a monastery.

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