Illegal drugs such as yaba, heroin, and Phensidyl (a brand of medicinal syrup which is addictive because it contains codeine) have been entering Bangladesh almost every day from Burma ahead of a holiday called “Festival,” according to a businessman from Teknaf who preferred not to be named for security reasons.
Sources say drug dealers have been smuggling Phensidyl, yaba tablets, and heroin through different border points and storing them in different parts of the country.
Recently, authorities scored a success in their campaign against drugs when members of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested four drug dealers with 1.6 kg heroin in Cox’s Bazar on July 25th and seized weapons that were in their possession.
According to RAB sources, one of the four individuals arrested was Ms. Usha Rakhine, who was on the most-wanted list of Bangladesh’s Home Ministry, RAB, the police, and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) for being a notorious drug trafficker. However, the names of the other three individuals who were arrested in the operation on July 25th weren’t identified.
During her interrogation, Ms. Usha confessed to RAB that her gang had been involved trading illegal drugs for a long time. The gang smuggled various drugs info Bangladesh from Burma and supplied them to various parts of the country, including Dhaka and Chittagong.
Last week, BGB officers seized a trawler containing about 170,000 yaba tablets from the Naf River near Teknaf, and RAB sources say that around a total of 500,000 yaba tablets have been seized around the country in last six months.
Enormous quantities of Phensidyl, heroin, and yaba are being smuggled through different border points along Burma-Bangladesh border, said a man from the border area known as Mr. Rahman.
According to police detectives, many youths—especially college and university students from the Dhaka area—are gradually getting addicted to drugs.
Local sources say that yaba smugglers have built up a strong network in the Dhaka area by paying off unscrupulous members of law enforcement agencies.
One local from Cox’s Bazar said that many smugglers have been caught smuggling yaba tablets through Burma-Bangladesh border points, but they quickly get back into the drug trade after being released from prison on bail.
A local politician from Chittagong has expressed concern that a large number of youngsters from well-to-do families and even middle and lower middle class families have become addicted to yaba, and that this will create a dangerous situation in Bangladesh in the future.