Meth Pills Seized by Laos Police in One of its Biggest Busts

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A whopping haul of 33 million tablets along with 500 Kg (1,100 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine has been confiscated by authorities in Laos, in their third largest seizure ever of methamphetamine.

An official from the UN anti-crime agency said that the huge bust came after Friday night when a truck was stopped at a checkpoint in Bokeo and was found to be carrying 200,000 tablets. On interrogating the driver, the cops found out about a drug trafficking group and its ambitious plans, leading to a much bigger seizure.

Jeremy Douglas, the regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, informed that the area where the truck was stopped is situated in a special economic zone in the country which practically operates autonomously outside of national law. Similar regions exist in Myanmar and Cambodia where organized crime is on the rise and law enforcement is quite the struggle.

One of Asia’s biggest and Laos’s largest drug busts happened in October last year, again in the province of Bokeo, where 55.6 million meth pills were found in a single raid, along with about 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of crystal meth. In January 2021, the second largest raid happened in Bokeo where 36.5 million meth pills were seized.

In a report in May, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime warned about the increasing production and trafficking of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine in the region. In fact, in 2021, over a billion meth tablets were seized from East and Southeast Asia for the first time. The production quantity of this lethal drug has increased over seven times since 10 years ago and this also makes it cheaper and more accessible, causing great risk to the lives of people living in the area and their communities.

Due to its relative ease of production, methamphetamine has surpassed opium and heroin as Southeast Asia’s most widely used and exported illicit substance.