Chocolate Yaba Seized in Tak Province (The Irrawaddy News Magazine Online Edition)
Police in Thailand’s Tak province have discovered a new form of amphetamine pills being smuggled across the Burmese border from Karen State, according to local police officials.
The pills, known as yaba, were covered in chocolate and seized following the arrest of a Burmese man. Police Maj Songwut Jitprasongpanit, who was involved in the discovery and arrest, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that the chocolate covering threw police dogs off the normally strong scent of the pills.
According to report by the Thai language news website Manager, Police Maj-Gen Prasarn Bunyaparn, Tak provincial police commander, said in a meeting of police officials that the new form of amphetamine pill could pose a growing threat because of the difficulty posed by the chocolate to drug-sniffing dogs.
As a result, Prasarn advised stepping up surveillance along the Thailand-Burma border, where the bulk of cross-border drug trafficking takes place.
The new chocolate amphetamine pills have yet to appear in Chiang Mai, according to Police Col Attakit Kornthong of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police, though he added that a previously unknown type of pill—stamped with an “R” and originating from Chiang Rai—has been seized.
New variations have also turned up in Mae Sai. Police Lt-Col Sunthorn Chantharangkul of the Mae Sai police said that the traditional orange pills have been replaced in recent months with purple pills. “The form of the drugs depends on each producer and the market demand,” said Sunthorn. “We have seized more than ten cases [of pills] each month since the beginning of the year.”
Sunthorn added that most drug producers along Thailand’s border with Shan State are ethnic Wa, Akha and Shan, while traffickers generally tended to be Thai citizens.
Chiang Rai police and officials from the Office of Narcotics Control Board last week seized 330,000 orange amphetamine pills and arrested six Thai traffickers, according to the ONCB website. The pills were intended for delivery to central Thailand.
Some 719 drug traffickers—mostly Thai citizens—have been arrested in Tak province in the first six months of 2006, and more than 150,000 amphetamine pills have been seized, according to Witoon Sairatsami of the Tak province police.