Anti-Narcotic Drug Measures Taken by State Administration Council During its Two-Year Tenure

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At the end of 2022, I read an online article stating that over 400 acres of opium poppy fields were destroyed and a total of 703 poppy farmers were arrested in India’s Manipur areas that share a 400-kilometre border with Myanmar. Among the arrestees, there reportedly included five chiefs of hill villages who had allowed the poppy plantations in their areas. Such action can be perceived as a message that the State Government of Manipur even takes action against the authorities who fail to stop opium poppy cultivation and are involved in such business.
The news article further states that illegal drugs from the Golden Triangle area, the tri-junction of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand borders, infamous for drug dealing, are coming into northeast India. Nevertheless, Myanmar, throughout successive governments, has exerted all efforts to emphasize anti-narcotic measures with great momentum to ensure the illegal drugs do not reach other neighbouring countries including itself.
History of Anti-Narcotic Drug Measures
In 1948 soon after Myanmar gained independence, opium and marijuana cultivation, production and dealings in Chin state were prohibited and controlled under the 1948 Chin Division Act. Afterwards, actions to control opium dealings had been accelerated by enacting the 1950 Opium Den Annihilation Act. Moreover, various operations were conducted from 1946 to 1960 against opium poppy cultivation, production and dealings which had become seriously larger with the arrival of intruding Kuomintang (KMT) troops in the eastern Shan state.
During the period from September 1975 to April 1988, Operation Moe Hein, Operation Nga Ye Pan (the hell flower), Operation Taung Yan Shin, Operation Taung Htake Pan and Operation Aung Moe Hein were conducted with the integrated efforts of the Tatmadaw, Myanmar Police Force and the people. Myanmar also conducted 28 special drug eradication operations from 2013 to 31 March 2020, including Operation 1511 which was conducted in cooperation with six MoU countries. Operation 1511 can be proudly seen as a successful operation with record-breaking seizures of illicit drugs in the combined efforts of the Tatmadaw, Myanmar Police Force and Anti-Narcotic Task Force. The seized narcotic drugs were worth K414 billion, including over 193 million stimulant tablets and 501 kilogrammes of ICE (crystal meth) and precursor chemicals used in making illicit drugs.
Seizures and Incinerations of Narcotics during the Tenure of State Administration Council
During the tenure of the State Administration Council-SAC, in accord with the guidance of the SAC Chairman, the Tatmadaw, Myanmar Police Force and the Anti-Narcotics Task Force have stepped up efforts to carry out illicit drug control activities. As a result, the events of burning and destroying narcotics, precursor chemicals and other related accessories confiscated in 2021 were held in Yangon, Mandalay and Taunggyi on 26 June 2021. In the events, a total of 62 items of seized narcotics and precursor chemicals worth over K1,068 billion (over US$ 667 million) including over 3,870 kilogrammes of opium, over 2,562 kg of heroin, over 224 million stimulant tablets, over 14,080 kg of ICE (crystal meth), over 739 kg of marijuana, over 289 kg of Ketamine, over 12.5 tonnes of Caffeine as well as other 60 items of chemicals used in making illicit drugs were incinerated and destroyed.
Similarly, in 2022, a total of 79 items of seized narcotics and precursor chemicals worth over K1,188.82 billion (over US$ 642.6 million) including over 2,654.89 kg of opium, over 1,940 kg of heroin, over 212 million stimulant tablets, over 23,653 kg of ICE (crystal meth), 1,205 kg of Kratom powder, over 709 kg of marijuana, over 2,024 kg of Ketamine, over 12 tonnes of Caffeine were incinerated and destroyed.
The minute statistics of the narcotic drugs and precursor chemicals incinerated on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking during the State Administration Council as well as the narcotics confiscated yearly are shown in the table below. The overview of the table below shows that the total value of illicit drugs and related items seized from February 2022 to January 2023 has already surpassed the total value of the seizures from February 2021 to January 2022, over US$27 million in amount. It obviously proves that the State Administration Council managed to speed up anti-narcotic measures in good momentum year by year.
Table Showing the Seizures of Narcotic Drugs in 2021 and 2022
Sr. Items 2021 (From January to December) 2022 (From January to December) Worth (K million)
1. Opium (kg) 2,508.64552 1,172.82891 3,681.47443
2. Heroin (kg) 2,544.108345 1,154.435467 3,698.543812
3. Stimulant tablets (tablet) 187,684,070.5 173,983,145 361,667,215.5
4. ICE (Crystal Meth) 16,557.91373 20,482.24933 37,040.16306
5. Marijuana (kg) 395.4805831 968.141415 1,363.621998
6. Kratom (kg) 3,125.61102 1,592.03817 4,717.64919
7. Kratom powder (kg) 1,096.919681 713.44818 1,810.367861
Total worth (K million) 986,471.681 1,043,231.656 2,029,703.337 million
Total worth (US$ million) 469.748 496.777 966.525 million
Explanation: The total worth of narcotic drugs including other related drugs was calculated at the rate of K2,100 per USD.
Cooperation with International Community
In the efforts to tackle the problems of narcotic drugs, successive administrations of Myanmar managed to sign three Conventions related to narcotic drugs, enact relevant laws, form narcotic drug-control authorities, and also formulate narcotic elimination plans. The Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) is now operating with 16 committee members and it forms regional committees for drug abuse control at the state/divisional, district, township, ward and village levels. The CCDAC has already drawn up and implemented a policy in line with the recommendations and outcomes of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS).
Myanmar as a member of ASEAN is cooperating with other Member States in the activities of narcotic drug elimination through the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD), ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Drug Matters (ASOD), ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force (AAITF) Meeting, ASEAN Seaport Interdiction Task Force (ASITF) Meeting and ASEAN Drug Monitoring Network (ADMN) Meeting.
Myanmar participated in the ASEAN Cooperation Work Plan (2017-2019) to Tackle Illicit Drug Production and Trafficking in the Golden Triangle and currently, it is cooperating with other Member States in ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025. According to the outcomes of the first meeting of the BIMSTEC Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime held in New Delhi on 9 December 2004, Myanmar has been tasked with the BIMSTEC Sub-Group on Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals. Myanmar is also publishing the BIMSTEC Annual Drug Report on behalf of BIMSTEC.
Myanmar is also cooperating, particularly in the areas of acquiring technologies and materials and information exchange, with international organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Australian Federal Police AFP, the Drug Enforcement Administration – DEA of the United States, China National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) and Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand.
Notable drug seizure cases
Nearly all of the drug production and dealings in Myanmar are notably related to Ethnic Armed Organizations-EAOs. Following Myanmar’s political shift in 2021, the NUG/PDF terrorists are also associated with narcotic drugs. Moreover, it is aware that almost all arrested terrorists are found to be using narcotic drugs somehow.
The State Administration Council is taking all possible measures to seize the narcotic drugs entering Myanmar in various forms and take action against the drug dealers. Here, some notable drug seizure cases are highlighted as follows.
On 7 January 2022, authorities confiscated 635 kgs of ICE (crystal meth) which were hidden in the secret compartment below the body floor of a 12-wheeler Isuzu truck at the entrance of Hotint village near Loilem township. The truck was about to leave for Taunggyi city. Following further investigations, another 603 kgs of ICE (crystal meth) hidden in the secret compartment below the body floor of a 12-wheeler Isuzu truck were found and seized between Chokum and Mongpon on Loilem-Taunggyi Road.
On 5 April 2022, with the combined efforts of the Tatmadaw and Myanmar Police Force, 15 million stimulant tablets were found and confiscated in a six-wheeler Nissan Diesel truck. According to interrogation results of the arrested drug dealers, another 10 million stimulant tablets were also found and seized in the yard of Winthardu Kan housing, Shwepyitha township. Therefore, 25 million stimulant tablets in total were confiscated.
On 24 April 2022, when Tatmadaw personnel together with Myanmar Police Force members raided a house (No. wa-ka-kha-265) in the Weinkyauk ward of Tachilek township, 10 people including the house owner Phay Thet Han were apprehended along with one M-16 rifle with a magazine, two revolvers, one pistol with a magazine, one gas gun with a magazine, one airgun, 19 rounds of 9 mm bullets, nine rounds of 5.56 mm bullets, three rounds of 9-bolt bullets. Moreover, 12.55 million stimulant tablets, 1.5 kgs of Ketamine, 159 Ecstasy tablets, one machine used for packing heroin and steel blander were also found and confiscated in another house (No. wa-ka-kha-249) belonging to the offender Phay Thet Han.
On 17 June 2022, 88 kgs of heroin were also seized on a six-wheeler Canter truck which left Tangyan for Lashio near a metal refinery factory in Lashio on Lashio-Tangyan Highway.
On 20 June 2022, authorities seized 1,700 kgs of ICE (crystal meth), 300 kgs of Ketamine, 41 punch tablet moulds and 19 press tablet mould plates that were hidden in a secret place in the middle compartment of a 12-wheeler oil bowser which left Yangon for Kyaikto.
On 25 July 2022, authorities again seized 14,500 kgs of Theophylline anhydrous powder inside No (6) room of warehouse in No. (ma-wa/535) yard on Mant Wane (2) street, Mant Wane area, Somsaw ward, Muse township. According to interrogation results of the arrested drug dealers, 3,000 kgs of Ammonium Nitrate and 2,000 kgs of Copper Sulfate were found in the garage belonging to Shwe Chinthae (golden lion) Company located in unit No. (H-247/1), 138th St x 139th St, 51st rd, (l) ward, Pyigyitagon township of Mandalay region.
On 8 October 2022, authorities seized 1,500 kgs of ICE (crystal meth) and one kg of Ketamine carried on a six-wheeler DONGFENG truck near the entrance of Sinsargon village in Mogok township. The truck was on the way to PyinOoLwin town.
On 22 November 2022, authorities confiscated another 2,000 kgs of Ice on a Lifan six-wheeler truck leaving Thamanya village for Myawady town at the Dadarkyo security checkpoint in Kawkareik township.
On review of such drug seizure cases and statistics, we can clearly witness that the SAC government is taking all possible measures with great momentum to eradicate narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Now let me draw a conclusion by saying that the relentless efforts of the State Administration Council to eradicate narcotic drugs with the synergy and concerted endeavours of the Tatmadaw and other anti-narcotic drug partner organizations including the Myanmar Police Forces under the guidance of the State Administration Council Chairman will be inscribed in the drug eradication history of Myanmar.

Note: The monthly seizures of narcotic drugs in detail during the tenure of the State Administration Council can be seen at https://infosheet.org.mm /mm/node/4199.

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