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Nearly a year after more than US$100 million worth of methamphetamine tablets was seized from an abandoned truck in Rangoon, the main suspects in the case remain at large, according to police.
Police prosecutor Win Myint told DVB on Tuesday that four suspects — Soe Shinn, Win Hlaing, Kyaw Aye Hlaing and Kyaw Hlaing — have eluded arrest since the case made headlines in July of last year when the truck, loaded with more than 26 million amphetamine tablets, was discovered in a compound owned by Zaykabar, one of Burma’s largest conglomerates.
So far a dozen arrests have been made in connection with the case, including two people who were recently apprehended as part of the ongoing investigation, but no clues as to the whereabouts of the chief suspects have been forthcoming, said Win Myint.
The case is being handled by the Myanmar Police Force‘s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control and the Criminal Investigation Department, which is also carrying out the prosecution against the suspects currently in custody.
In July 2015, 2.67 tonnes of methamphetamine tablets valued at $106 million were found in a truck in the Zaykabar compound in Rangoon’s Mingaladon Township, in what police described at the time as the country’s largest-ever drug haul. (At current exchange rates, the value of the haul would be closer to $133 million.)
In a separate incident last year, police seized 21 million methamphetamine tablets worth $35 million near the China-Burma border.
Last month, authorities in Rangoon, Mandalay and Taunggyi destroyed narcotics with a street value of more than $50 million in a series of drug-burning ceremonies to mark the International Day against Drug Trafficking and Abuse on 26 June.
According to the Rangoon Division police chief, the drugs seized from the truck were not included in the burning because the case is still under investigation.
Burma is the world’s second-largest producer of heroin after Afghanistan, and is also a major source of methamphetamine, most of which is consumed domestically or in neighbouring countries.