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Myanmar pushes drugs worth billions of dollars

Myanmar, Yaba, Arakan, Naf River, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Hijbul Mujaheedin, D-Company, Dawood Ibrahim

Oped

Myanmar pushes drugs worth billions of dollars

For years, members of international drug trafficking rackets are running drugs manufacturing factories inside Myanmar, and despite repeated reminders from the international community, military junta in Naypyidaw left a blind-eye on this serious matter. According to media reports, ‘yaba’ pills are manufactured at dozens of factories in the Arakan Province in Myanmar and later trafficked by members of international drugs trafficking rackets to neighboring Bangladesh, China, Thailand and India as well as trafficked to Asian, African, European and American nations. Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine.

Last week, members of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) seized 52,000 pieces of yaba pills (a type of narcotic) worth over US$ 1.8 million in a pre-dawn raid on Myanmar border. Earlier on January 12 and 17, security forces confiscated over a million yaba pills worth US$ 3.3 million.

According to BGB sources, Myanmar’s Naf River has seemingly turned into a hotbed for smugglers, which is being used for pushing consignments of yaba pills into Bangladesh and India. Moreover, Myanmar-based drug traffickers are also pushing yaba pills worth billions of dollars every year to China, Thailand and other bordering countries, while consignments of yaba pills are also trafficked to various Asian, African, European and American nations with the help of transnational drug trafficking networks.

In this newspaper, we have been regularly publishing reports and op-eds exposing Myanmar’s drugs manufacturing and trafficking rackets. We have already reported as to how Myanmar-based yaba manufacturers are connected to a number of Islamist militancy groups such as Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Hijbul Mujaheedin, Hezbollah and Hamas. We have also reported about connection between Myanmar’s drugs rackets and D-Company, international crime gang headed by Dawood Ibrahim.

On May 18, 2020, Asia’s biggest-ever drug bust in Myanmar had exposed the link between Southeast Asian drug syndicates and involvement of D-Company. Dawood Ibrahim, who leads D-Company controls major narcotics operation in most of the nations in the world. During this raid, over 18 tons of drugs were seized on a tip-off by UN agencies. The consignment was meant to be trafficked through India, China and Thailand.

According to intelligence sources, D-Company, which has large bases in Thailand and West Bengal in India, usually lifts synthetic drugs like fentanyl from Myanmar and traffics into European and US markets. The racket also has established a new base in Dominica, a Caribbean island country, under the direct help from Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

The latest dossier prepared by India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), Dawood Ibrahim and his younger brother Sheikh Anees Ibrahim deal in synthetic drugs as well as heroin and opium. The underworld duo also has established partnership with Afghan smuggler Haji Jan Lal Ishqzai, with the goal of expanding their drugs empire into a number of former Soviet republics.

The IB dossier on the mafia don Dawood revealed: Dawood Ibrahim, with a motive to generate capital through illegal heroin trade, has taken the help of Ishaqzai to execute nefarious plans of pumping narcotics in India and elsewhere. The D-Company has already established ground networks in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Ghana from where it hopes to carry out operations.

D-Company”s key points man in Afghanistan, Ishqzai, has earlier been on the most wanted list of drug traffickers in the US. On Ishqzai, a DEA report said,” Ishaqzai was arrested in 2012 after being one of the United States” most wanted 10 kingpins. He escaped two years later after allegedly paying bribes totaling up to $14 million to local officials. Ishaqzai”s disappearance from prison and return to trafficking was a major embarrassment for the Afghan authorities.

The IB dossier on Dawood Ibrahim also cited a report of the US Congress relating to House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance. Describing Dawood Ibrahim as a global narcotics smuggler, the report of the US Congress subcommittee said, “Pakistan-based crime-terror group, D-Company, whose origins lie in India, expanded Karachi’s historic role as a drug transshipment point, and built a powerful transnational crime-terror organization, in part from drug proceeds”.

An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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