SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 2 December 2021, Thursday |

Laos police seize record drugs haul in Golden Triangle

Two security sources in Thailand confirmed on Thursday that Lao police had captured a record amount of illicit drugs in the Golden Triangle region, in what the UN called Asia’s greatest single drug seizure ever.

On Wednesday, Laos police captured almost 55 million amphetamine tablets and over 1.5 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine after stopping a truck hauling beer crates in northern Bokeo, which borders Thailand and Myanmar, according to two sources.

The discovery was “by far the largest seizure in the history of East and Southeast Asia,” according to Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The bust on Wednesday came after Lao police seized a total of 16 million amphetamine tablets in two separate busts in the same region over the course of a week.

Lao authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The Golden Triangle, which includes portions of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos, has a long history of being a major drug-producing region.

It has served as a massive production center for amphetamine-type stimulants, especially methamphetamine, used by Asian crime syndicates with distribution networks reaching as far as Japan and New Zealand.

Douglas said the spike in volume of drugs seized in Laos was due to a shifting of smuggling routes inside Myanmar, as a result of unrest in border areas since a coup in February.

“This is related to the security and governance breakdown in the Triangle and Shan Myanmar – spillover is hitting the region,” Douglas said.