18 tons of illicit drugs seized in Myanmar

Foreign military attaches check drugs in a football ground where seized drugs vehicles laboratory accessories and precursor chemicals are being displayed to be witnessed by invited military attaches and journalists in Kawnghka at Shan State on Ma

Foreign military attaches check drugs in a football ground where seized drugs vehicles laboratory accessories and precursor chemicals are being displayed to be witnessed by invited military attaches and journalists in Kawnghka at Shan State on Ma

"What has been unearthed through this operation is truly off the charts", Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC south-east Asia and Pacific representative said in a statement.

MYANMAR authorities have made Southeast Asia's biggest-ever seizure of synthetic drugs, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

Massive amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs and their components were also seized in what the agency described as "one of the largest and most successful counter-narcotics operations in the history of the country and region".

"We are pleased to report the results of the operation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)".

Police seized almost 200 million methamphetamine tablets, more than 500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, and 35.5 metric tons and 163,000 thousand liters of precursor chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs, Myanmar authorities and the UNODC said in a joint statement.

Thirty-three suspects of drug trafficking were arrested, while 97 others have been identified but are on the run. "We are meeting our commitments to our Mekong MOU and worldwide partners, and responding to the growing challenge of synthetic drugs facing this country and the region, and we hope our neighbours will take note and work with us, and do the same".

Myanmar is under pressure to stem the deluge of drugs from its border regions.

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The operation resulted in the arrest of 33 people, including individuals from outside Myanmar.

Raids on labs in the Kutkai area of Shan state, Myanmar, have seen almost 200 million meth tablets, 500kg of crystal meth, 300kg of heroin and 3,750l of methyl fentanyl seized.

In a report issued just last week, the UNODC highlighted the expansion of the domestic market for synthetic opioids in East and Southeast Asia. "We have been projecting this scenario for a few years".

Shan state is known as part of the "Golden Triangle", a remote, largely lawless jungle area spreading across Myanmar, Laos, China and Thailand which was once a major source of the world's opium and heroin and is now a major producer of methamphetamine.

"Big worldwide syndicates already active in the Golden Triangle are well positioned to take advantage of regional heroin demand and produce synthetic opioids alongside other drugs", the agency's regional representative, Jeremy Douglas, said in a statement. We have witnessed a displacement scenario play-out with the supply of methamphetamine over the past few years. However, seizure of large quantities of solvents like sulphuric acid in northern Shan State in March this year, believed to originate from India, has confirmed continuing flows of chemicals from India to Myanmar.

Aside from illicit drugs, Myanmar Police have seized sophisticated laboratory and production equipment and 39 different chemicals.

"Made-in-Myanmar" drugs are trafficked south through Thailand, north into China and west towards Bangladesh - a cascade of stimulants overwhelming regional policing efforts and seeding a crisis of addiction, corruption and money laundering.

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