Godfathers still at large
Published : Saturday, 9 November, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 238
More than 500 suspected drug traffickers -- including at least 25 Rohingya suspects-- have been shot dead by police and security forces since an anti drug crackdown was launched on May 15 last year. Those killed were Yaba traffickers but none of their godfathers.
The godfathers have secured their freedom in exchange of money, it was learnt.
Police arrested a Rohingya man with 800,000 pills of methamphetamine pills in their biggest narcotics haul this year, officials said on Monday.
The seizure was the biggest made this year of the methamphetamine pills, known as Yaba, which have become a popular drug among young people in the nation of 168 million.
A senior official of an intelligence agency told the Daily Observer on Friday that the illicit trade has long relied on drug trafficking cartels smuggling Yaba across the border from Myanmar and more recently, men living in the displaced Rohigya camps have also been recruited as drug 'mules.'
Law enforcers have seized more than 10 million Yaba pills from local drug peddlers and the Rohingyas living in makeshift camps in Cox's Bazar since 2017. Bangladeshi godfathers of Yaba traders used the camp Rohingyas as traffickers. On February 16 of 2019, a total of 102 Yaba traders and drug kingpins surrendered at a ceremony in Teknaf of Cox's Bazar. Meanwhile, most of the kingpins and drug lords remained at large. Some others lost their control for law enforcer's surveillance and fear of getting killed. Just seven of the listed 49 drug traders were killed in so-called gunfights, while another 43 did not surrender.
There are allegations that the associates of those who have surrendered have kept the business alive.
However, some quarters said they are not optimistic about the drug trade being contained. They see a lack of coordination among the law enforcement agencies regarding the drives.
Around 3,000 traders, with 350 'godfathers', control the business across the country. They are on the lists of various government forces and the lists are updated by the Home Ministry annually.
Because of the trade booming in the area, most godfathers belong to that area, building their empires and operating their syndicates. But many of them control Yaba trade from hideouts.
The syndicate members in collaboration with the influential people resorted to this mode of operation after the countrywide anti-narcotic crackdown began on May 15 last year.
Security officials say drug trading will not end only with the surrender of drug peddlers, but they are a source of divulging important information from which further drives can be conducted.
According to police sources, the Home Ministry, and the Department of Narcotics Control, at least 24 of 73 listed "big traders" surrendered on February 16. Those who surrendered include four brothers, a cousin and a nephew of former Cox's Bazar 4 lawmaker, Abdur Rahman Bodi.
Most of those who surrendered in February were small scale traders. Some 20 to 25 Yaba godfathers have not surrendered and are moving in the open. And the associates of those who have surrendered have continued their Yaba trade with a change of strategy.
Known as Yaba, or 'crazy medicine' in Thai, the highly-addictive stimulant is a mix of methamphetamine and caffeine that usually comes in the form of colourful, candy-like tablets.
Use of the drug has risen at an alarming rate, with authorities struggling to stem the flow of tens of millions of pills pouring in from Myanmar - where they're manufactured - and ripping through Bangladesh's cities and villages corrupting the youth.