War against Yaba far from over
Published : Tuesday, 23 April, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 103
The main culprits engaged in smuggling Yaba pills, a stimulant widely abused by teenagers in Bangladesh, are still to be caught. Only some 102 drug dealers and smugglers have so far surrendered to police with 350,000 Yaba tablets.
Those who have surrendered were involved in smuggling Yaba pills into Bangladesh from across the border with Myanmar. Others still involved in the trade were warned of "dire consequences" but the menace is far from over.
Meanwhile, the law enforcers have failed to find out the 'godfather' of the Indo-Bangla border drug trade.
The Home Ministry sources told The Daily Observer that Yaba tablets have been entering Bangladesh through not only Myanmar but also from different points of the Indo-Bangla border for the past four years.
Having failed to stop the smuggling, the government launched a crackdown in which over 500 drug traders mostly suspected carriers were killed in so-called shootouts with the law enforcers during drives in recent months.
According to the sources, four brands of Yaba tablets-'007', 'Champa', 'WY' and 'Neela'-were being smuggled from across the Indo-Bangla border.
Of these, the 007 tablets are costlier than the others. They are pink in colour and sell between Tk 500 and Tk 600 each. The colour of the Champa brand is light pink and each tablet sells between Tk 350 and Tk 500. The WY tablets are also light in colour and cost from Tk 150 to Tk 200 each, BGB sources said.
The smugglers use several SIM cards of Bangladeshi and Indian mobile phone operators as the networks of the two countries were available for a distance of around 1.5 km on both sides of the No Man's Land, the sources said.
On March 21, personnel from the BGB's 53 Battalion had seized 40,000 Yaba tablets from a frontier field at Bisrashia in Shibganj upazila of the Rajshahi district.
In January, BGB had seized 9,300 Yaba pills at the Agrabhulot border point. Sources said Yaba was mostly popular among those who suffer from sexual or mental problems. The drug is believed to have led to organised crime rackets, official corruption, street violence, and broken families.
The government announced in May 2018 a nationwide crackdown against drugs, mainly Yaba pills.
Drug dens have been busted in Cox's Bazar and elsewhere and over 30,000 suspects are currently in jail. Despite all efforts, the border and security officials said that the Yaba tablets continue to be seized in bordering districts and even in the capital Dhaka.
The Border Guard Bangladesh is one of the leading forces fighting against Yaba and most of its seizures have been reported in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar. The border force seized 526,942 Yaba pills in January of 2019 while 1.26 crore Yaba tablets were seized in 2018.
Department of Narcotics Control officials said that they recently seized four consignments of Yaba in Rajshahi and all of the four carriers said that they had brought those from Malda and Murshidbad regions in India.
A senior narcotics control official told this correspondent that they caught the first consignment of 830 Yaba tablets on January 21 followed by 800 tablets on January 28, 600 tablets on February 5 and 1,500 tablets on February 6. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yaba, the 'crazy medicine' is a tablet form of methamphetamine and a very powerful stimulant. Yaba is now the main form of methamphetamine abused in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia as well as Viet Nam and Myanmar, where it is typically manufactured, it said.