As the methamphetamine drug known in Thailand as “yaa baa” spreads among Bangladesh youth, the authorities seized 2.8 million tablets this week in two raids.

The seizures were valued at an estimated at US$10.5 million. Yaa baa, in Thai, means “crazy medicine” and is made of methamphetamine and caffeine.

Police conducted raids on Sunday at a railway station in Dhaka and at the port city of Chittagong.

“This is the biggest seizure of yaa baa tablets in Bangladesh. We’ve arrested three traffickers including a ring leader in connection with the seizure,” Mahmud told AFP. He said the drugs were made in neighbouring Myanmar.

Police in the southern town of Teknaf, which borders Myanmar, recently seized hundreds of thousands of the drug

“The Myanmar-Teknaf border was the main trafficking route when the drug cartel introduced yaa baa in Bangladesh. But now they are mostly using sea routes after many of their consignments were seized on land,” Teknaf police chief Ataur Rahman Khan said.

“It seems Bangladesh has become a big target of the international drug cartels,” Khan told AFP.

The seizure comes just months after Chittagong customs officials seized a shipment of cocaine worth $14 million.

A Department of Narcotics Control official said authorities were struggling to stem trafficking from Myanmar, in part because of a river running along their border which was difficult to patrol.

“Yaa baa pills can be produced in small bathroom-sized labs. We shared our intelligence with Myanmar about the location of some labs. But they didn’t take necessary steps,” he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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