The value of the detained batch is hundreds of millions of dollars.
Myanmar police have seized the largest shipment of methamphetamine in Asia in decades – 200 million tablets, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. CNN writes about it.
In addition to the finished tablets, was seized a large shipment of methylphenthanyl, a chemical used to manufacture this powerful synthetic opioid.
The seizure was the result of a three-month operation that took place in northern Myanmar, near Lwe Kham village.
Bags of precursors
In total, about 200 million tablets of methamphetamine, more than 500 kg of crystalline methamphetamine, 35.5 tons and 163,000 thousand litres of precursor chemicals used to produce illicit drugs have been seized.
Almost 3,750 litres of liquid methylphenthanyl have also been seized. So far, that is the largest shipment of that precursor found in South-East Asia. It’s used to produce a synthetic opioid, a heroin-like drug.
“This may be the moment we feared – synthetic opioids are widespread in the region,” the police said.
Myanmar is part of the so-called “Golden Triangle” – an area where the borders of three states converge: Thailand, Laos and, in fact, Myanmar. Previously, heroin was produced there, which was distributed throughout the world, but it was labour-intensive – among other things, it took a lot of space for its production. Therefore, local drug traffickers switched to cheap and easy to manufacture synthetic substances, such as methamphetamine. The area is controlled by local militia and field commanders.
The synthetic drug market was not even too affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “Although the world has shifted its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals in the region continues at record levels,” police say. They also point out that such a network of production facilities would not have been possible without strong financial support from transnational organised crime groups.