Military and narcotics officials along the northern border are upbeat over reports that their Burmese counterparts intercepted 13 million methamphetamine tablets bound for Thailand, an army source said on Tuesday.
The speed pills, also known as yaba, are believed to have been produced by the 20,000-strong United Wa State Army (UWSA), a pro-Rangoon outfit that has operated with impunity in an autonomous region since it obtained a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese junta in 1989.
Since 1999, the UWSA has been forcibly relocating villagers living in their area along the Chinese border to newly built towns across the border from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Wa leaders claim the relocation is part of an opiumeradication programme, but Thai officials see the growing presence of ethnic Wa villagers in UWSAcontrolled area as a threat to national security.
According to the source, an official from the Narcotics Control Board and an officer from the US Drug Enforcement Agency were invited to Keng Tung, a commercial centre of Burma’s Shan State, for a meeting with Burmese officials about the drug situation in the Golden Triangle.
The pair was informed about the seizure of 13 million tablets, as well as the detention of 25 drug traffickers and confiscation of 100 AK47 rifles.
The drugs, along with the men and weapons, were said to belong to a UWSA unit under the command of Wei Hsuehkang, one of Golden Triangle most notorious warlords, according to the source.
Wei, indicted by a US Federal Court for heroin trafficking, has a US$2 million reward on his head.