Over 5 million amphetamine pills found in cave

Sept 16, 2009 (DVB), More than five million methamphetamine pills have been found by anti-drugs police in a cave in Shan state in northeastern Burma, state-run media reported today.

The discovery was made on Monday outside Yinsin village near to the China-Burma border town of Laukkai, according to the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Along with 5,313,000 brown methamphetamine (or 'yaba') pills, the Kunlon special anti-drugs squad also found 3,024,000 caffeine pills and 83 kilos of an unidentified white powder.

During a search of a house the previous day, police found vast quantities of liquid chemicals, including 20 gallons of mixed ether. Police are reportedly investigating the source of the drugs.

The seizure comes on top of a number of significant drugs hauls this year, the majority of which have been made at the Thai-Burma border town of Tachilek.

On 11 September, police found nearly three million amphetamine pills in two separate discoveries in Tachilek.

In July nearly 1,000 kilograms of heroin were discovered at a checkpoint just outside of Tachilek.

Drug production in Shan state is a key factor in making Burma the world's second largest source of opium behind Afghanistan, although production has declined in recent years.

Use of synthetic drugs, such as methamphetamine, has increased in Thailand and Burma in recent years, with Burma being the region's main supply point.

A crackdown by Thai authorities on methamphetamine trafficking that began with the Shinawatra government has meant that increased quantities now circulate inside Burma, instead of being sold in Thailand.

Reporting by Francis Wade

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