Monk arrested in Maungdaw after monastery raid uncovers yaba stash

Monk arrested in Maungdaw after monastery raid uncovers yaba stash

As part of a recently launched crackdown on illegal narcotics in Arakan State, Burmese police seized over 4.6 million yaba pills in Maungdaw Township allegedly belonging to a monk, who has been accused of stashing the drugs in his monastery.

On 5 February, officers at a checkpoint on a road toward the town of Maungdaw searched a vehicle passing through and found more than 400,000 yaba pills inside it. Based on subsequent questioning of the Buddhist monk Arseya, who was in the car at the time of the traffic stop, police raided the Shwe Baho Monastery in Maungdaw, where they found over 4.2 million more yaba pills stashed in bags hidden across the building. The police sweep also turned up a grenade and a variety of ammunition, including rounds for both handguns and assault rifles manufactured by the military-owned Myanmar Defence Industries.

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Arseya, the abbot of Shwe Baho Monstery, is facing criminal weapons and narcotics charges and remains in police custody.

The Burma Police on 1 February launched “Operation May Yu,” aimed at suppressing the illicit narcotics trade in western Burma’s Arakan State. The operation is being joined by anti-narcotics police teams from other regions of Burma.

Arakan State, which borders Bangladesh, has seen several major drug busts in recent years, including an operation in September that netted nearly 7 million methamphetamine tablets valued at an estimated street value of about 14 billion kyats ($11 million).

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