Thailand and Myanmar burn seized drugs worth $ 2 billion

AYUTTHAYA, Thailand / YANGON (Reuters) – Thailand and Myanmar on Friday destroyed 25 tons of illicit drugs worth more than $ 2 billion, but said the tide of drugs was growing as organized crime gangs escalated the offer and find new channels to do business.

Plastic-wrapped heroin bricks are displayed during the 50th Confiscated Narcotics Destruction ceremony in Ayutthaya province, Thailand, June 26, 2020. REUTERS / Athit Perawongmetha

The Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, where northern Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are located, has long been a hub of drug trafficking. Production is now on an industrial scale.

In Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, Thai authorities marked the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with a mass incineration of drugs.

Black-clad police commandos guarded stacks of drug boxes unloaded from trucks and heroin bricks and bags filled with pink methamphetamine pills that were thrown into garbage containers for incineration.

Thai anti-drug chiefs said the travel restrictions and coronavirus checkpoints had helped reduce smuggling activities, although the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says the trade has flourished reut. rs / 2NzewOl.

Wisanu Prasarthong-osoth, deputy chief of the national police, said drug criminals were getting creative.

“Our children are making the wrong decision to order narcotics online. And the distributors send them, “he said.

Although opium cultivation and heroin refinement have decreased, methamphetamine production in the lawless northern regions of Myanmar has increased, with armed ethnic groups in business with elements of organized crime.

Thailand is mainly used as a conduit and distribution point.

UNODC regional representative Jeremy Douglas said selling drugs online was a worrying trend and that oversupply of methamphetamine was driving prices down.

“We are seeing an increase in the availability of medications. Very dangerous, ”said Douglas.

Columns of black smoke filled the sky in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, as sacks full of drugs caught fire. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

“Frankly, Myanmar has become the transit point for the distribution of narcotic drugs to Europe and Asia,” said Hla Wai, a colonel in the Myanmar police.

Additional reports from Panu Wongcha-um and Jiraporn Kuhakan in Bangkok; Written by Martin Petty, Edited by Timothy Heritage

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