Zarif Mahmud with Faridul Alam Shahin: A total of 70 lakh pieces of Yaba pills are being sold every day across the country. At the underground market, the retail price of each tablet is Tk 300 and, as such, Yaba worth Tk 210 crore is traded every day across the country, according to a top police official at the DMP.
Some 15 lakh Yaba pills are sold every day in the megacity of Dhaka. Its retail value won’t be less than Tk 45 crore, police said.
Recreational drug Methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘Yaba’, still dominates the illicit drug peddling across the country even after several crackdown moves were taken, police said.
The tales of Yaba resurface almost every month as one agency or the other breaks the peddlers’ den. In one instance, elite force Rapid Action Battalion had arrested four Yaba peddlers on September 16 raiding a home at Golapbagh neighbourhood under Jatrabari Police Station in the capital. After x-raying their stomachs, some 8,400 pieces of Yaba pills were recovered.
The drug peddlers were procuring Yaba from the bordering districts and vending those to various locations including the capital.
Police say Yaba selling is being run by a huge number of strong syndicates. Besides, online Yaba hawking is also booming. In the case of online trading, it has been seen that only two or three pills could be recovered during any police drive.
Officials said recovering 10,000 or 20,000 pills a day is nothing compared to peddling seven million pieces of meth tablets, a day.
“The government has always been playing a very serious role in eradicating drugs. The dope test of the police has been made mandatory. So far, 131 policemen have lost their jobs for substance abuse,” an official of the DMP headquarters said.
He said those police members might have accomplices. This could not be known immediately. The initiative of dope testing is being spread across the country, the source said.
“Together with the police, parents or families must take an acute interest in eradicating the illegal drug trade. In addition to strict enforcement of law, awareness is also very important to prevent its spread.” to top police official said.
Officials said 131 policemen were fired immediately after testing positive for drugs.
“The government has adopted a ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards substance abuse,” said another official, adding strong political commitment is needed to address the juggernauts of drug peddling.
There are 48 syndicates active to collect and distribute the recreational drugs in the country, police said.
Besides, there are 155 active syndicates on the border of India and Myanmar to feed their counterparts inside Bangladesh. In those areas, some disguised retailers are running this illicit trade by renting local houses.
Earlier, the prime route of Yaba trading was Teknaf to Cox’s Bazar and then elsewhere towards Dhaka. But the smugglers have changed their route as the BGB patrol has been intensified along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Some meth consignments are entering Bangladesh from India, as well, police said.
Apart from sea routes, Yaba is entering through Benapole, Chapainawabganj, Satkhira, Lalmonirhat, Chuadanga and Joypurhat borders. Then the pills are being distributed across the country, including the capital Dhaka, police said.
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