Chittagong, Bangladesh: The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in a drive on July 29, seized over 5,000 Yaba methamphetamines tablet worth Tk 2 million and arrested a drug peddler at the main Police Station in Chittagong, Bangladesh. All the tablets came from Burma, according to a police official.

“The arrestee is identified as Md Zahid Hossain (48), son of Tajul Islam, of Moheshkhali under Cox's Bazaar district. He carried the drugs from the Burma-Bangladesh border. He has been involved in drug trafficking since long ago.”

According to sources, a team from RAB-7 raided a guesthouse in the area of Asodganj in Chittagong around 8:30 am and arrested the drug peddler with the Yaba tablets. Sensing the presence of law enforcers, other drug peddlers fled the scene.

Zahid, later, was handed over to the Police Station for more interrogations, the sources said.

Like floodwater, Yaba tablets are being smuggled to Bangladesh from Burma. From the Teknaf area alone, about 376 people are involved in drug trafficking. Of them 20 are women, said a trader from Teknaf, quoting the official data of police and border security forces.

In addition, one local chairman and two brothers of the present MP of Teknaf are also involved in drug trafficking. They have a syndicate consisting of 22 members. They distribute Yaba tablets across the country. It is a powerful syndicate, said a local trader who declined to be named.

Yaba tablets have been smuggled to Bangladesh from Burma since 2001. At present, about 6% of people in the Teknaf border area are involved in narcotic drug trafficking, said a local elder from the Teknaf border.

There are about 2.5 million drug users across the country, and they use about Taka 78,750 million worth of drugs per year, according to an official source.

Some of the active drug traffickers have been arrested, but their godfathers have never been arrested, said a trader from Cox’s Bazaar. 

“Police and other concerned authorities excluding the RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) arrest the narcotic drug traffickers over the situation. The drug traffickers are also encouraged by the local politicians,” said an elder from the border area.

“Bangladesh has become a prime destination for heroin and Yaba produced in Burma,” said an elder from Cox’s Bazaar. Yaba tablets from Burma are being smuggled into Bangladesh everyday through land routes and waterways. Though the Bangladesh authorities have been trying to stop the flow of the tablets to Bangladesh, they have failed. If Burma’s authorities were not involved in drug trafficking, the flow of Yaba tablets to Bangladesh would be stopped,” said an elder from Maungdaw who declined to be named for security reasons.