Saturday, 26 November, 2022

Drug, cattle smuggling rampant amid Myanmar conflict

Amid growing bloody clashes between Myanmar troops and separatist group ‘Arakan army’, smuggling of drugs including Yaba and cattle into Bangladesh is rampant through the country’s border with Myanmar.  

Taking advantage of the situation, the organized gang of smugglers are smuggling yaba tablets and cattle into the country through different bordering points of the Teknaf upazila in Cox’sbazar, detective sources said.

Locals said after the fresh start of the conflict in Myanmar, in the last one and a half months, cows and buffaloes and various types of banned drugs have been illegally entering Bangladesh every day through the Phultali, Lambashia, Vallukhai, Chakdhala and Dauchhari points of the Naikshyongchari border of Bandarban.

Many smuggling rings are controlling the shipment of these illegal products.

According to Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), one person was arrested along with 25 cows illegally brought in July.

According to BGB sources, members of the 57 BGB battalion of Alikadam in Bandarban seized 17 cows from the border area of Poyamuhuri. Then on the evening of 19 September, 118 cows and buffaloes were seized from Kana member ghat in Alikadam. On 29 September, Naikshyongchari 11 BGB members seized a herd of 24 buffaloes.

In total, 184 cattle and buffaloes have been seized so far. On the afternoon of 22 September, 116 cows and buffaloes were sold at an auction for Tk 87.80 lakh by the initiative of the local administration and BGB.

Locals also said every day around 15-20 cows and buffaloes and various types of drugs are entering the country. The local farmers of Naikshyongchari said farmers of 5 Unions of Naikshyongchari and Ramu, Gorznia, Kachhpia and Eidgarh of Cox's Bazar are facing a crisis due to the theft of cows.

The price of domestic cattle has come down due to the arrival of a large number of stolen cows in the markets of Baishari and Garjaniya of Naikshyongchari and Ramu upazilas.

Talking to the locals, it has been learned that the smugglers are bringing cows illegally through five points of Naikshyongchari border and three points of Ali Kadam.Zone commander and captain of 11 BGB Lt. Col. Rezaul Karim told the journalists that cows, buffaloes and various narcotics are smuggled from Myanmar through the Naikshyongchari border area, especially the Phultali Point.

 “Apart from border protection, BGB is more active than ever in anti-terrorist activities, arresting illegal weapons, drugs, Yaba and all kinds of illegal goods including Myanmar cattle and buffalo smuggled through the border,” he added.

With the smuggling of various banned drug items including yaba and phensidyl into the country from neighbouring countries, in and around many railway stations, railway tracks, lanes and by-lanes in the capital and many other parts of the country have turned into safe sanctuary of drug dealers and drug addicts.

In some cases, drug smugglers are also producing and selling drug-mixed drinks under the guise of Ayurvedic medicine, RAB said.

To evade the eyes of the law enforcers, the organized gangs of drug traders have selected many Ayurvedic medicine shops and residential houses in the capital as safe dens for the drug business.

Despite the ongoing crackdown on drug traffickers, drug smuggling has not stopped at all, putting the young generations in danger.

Though only a handful of its carriers are netted by the law enforcers at times, in most cases, the branded drug smugglers remain out of reach, detective sources said.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) in different operations in the last 24 hours till 6 am Saturday (Oct 1) arrested 65 persons for their alleged involvement in selling and consuming drugs.

The DMP’s police and detective units conducted the anti-drug campaign in different areas of the city, seizing drugs and arresting drug sellers and abusers, said a DMP statement on Saturday.

They seized 6,571 pieces of Yaba tablets, 350gm heroin and 52.35kg hemp, 20 injectable drugs and 12 bottles of foreign liquor from their possessions, the statement said.

According to the statement, a total of 41 cases have been filed against the detained persons under the Narcotics Control Act.

In another incident recently, RAB arrested six people on charge of producing and selling drug-mixed drinks under the guise of Ayurvedic medicine from different areas of the capital.A large quantity of various narcotic and sexually stimulating drinks was also recovered from their possession.

RAB media wing director Commander Khandaker Al Moin said recently they have received complaints from several parents that a shop in Kamrangirchar is selling a kind of drink under the guise of Ayurvedic medicine.

Parents report that their sons are getting addicted to this Ayurvedic medicine and behave like drug addicts after consuming it.

Later, RAB-2's intelligence team secretly collected the medicine from the Ayurvedic shop and sent it to the laboratory. In the said drink, the presence of 'A' class drug called toluene which is used in making gaja, yaba, dandi was found.

The RAB-2 then raided the factory located in Narinda of the capital and various outlets in Kamrangirchar, Kataban, Nazira Bazar, Gulistan, and Old Dhaka and accused one of the masterminds (1) Md. Wazed Islam of manufacturing and selling drug-mixed drinks under the guise of Ayurvedic/herbal medicine.

Shanto (20), father: Md. Naeem, Wari, Dhaka, and his accomplice (2) Md. Russell (29), father: Md. Salam Sardar, Kalkini, Madaripur, (3) Md. Hriday (29), father: Md. Abdul Barek, Wari, Dhaka, (4) Md. Mursalin Ahmed (18), Father: Md. Awlad Mia, Sadar, Sunamganj, (5) Md. Sabuj Mia (18), Father: Md. Amir Ali, Sadar, Sunamganj (6) Md. Nantu (52), Palang, Shariatpur people were arrested from different areas of the capital.

Some 3500 bottles of various drug-laced drinks were also seized; Yaba powder and ganja-like substances were used as raw materials in the preparation of the medicine and various equipment for making the drink.

Initially, it is known that they have been preparing and selling drinks mixed with drugs and sexual stimulants under the guise of selling Ayurvedic medicines in an unsanitary environment with a license in the name of pharmacy.

The alleged Ayurvedic drinks cost between Tk 160 and Tk 200 per bottle. The gang has been producing the drinks for the last 2-3 years.

They produce the drink in the factory located in Narinda of the capital and sell the drink through outlets in various places including Kamrangirchar, Kataban, Nazira Bazar and Gulistan. It is known that 03-04 hundred bottles of the drug mixed drink were sold daily from various outlets in the capital.

They rent flats and run factories. Due to its cheap availability and presence of addictive substances, the demand for the drink increased among the young and youth community. Legal action is pending against the arrestees.