55 million drug pills: Police make record drug discovery in Laos

Status: 10/29/2021 10:11 a.m.

It is the largest drug discovery in Asia to date: In Laos, police have confiscated 55 million amphetamine pills and 1.5 tons of crystal meth. The drugs were hidden in a beer truck. Two men were arrested.

In Laos, police seized more than 55 million amphetamine pills and 1.5 tons of crystal meth in a truck. It is by far the largest seizure in the history of East and Southeast Asia, said UN expert Jeremy Douglas. “That is three times as many pills as were confiscated in Laos in the last year.”

The officers discovered the drugs more by accident when they checked a truck in Bokeo on the border with Thailand and Myanmar, reported the local newspaper “Vientiane Times”. The drug was hidden between beer crates on a truck.

After the find in the northern province of Bokeo, the truck driver led investigators, according to press reports, to a nearby house, where two men were arrested.

Drug trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” is flourishing

The area is also known as the “Golden Triangle” and has been a drug trafficking hotspot in Southeast Asia for decades. The term used to be a synonym for opium or heroin production in the region.

Douglas, regional representative for Southeast Asia at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the pills were probably intended for the Mekong region market, mainly Thailand, but probably also Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos itself. The crystal meth should probably also be sold partially to Thailand, but possibly also to regional markets as far as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Brewery denies participation

In the past few months, the trade in methamphetamine in particular has increased massively in the wake of the unrest in parts of Myanmar, said Douglas the British BBC. “The neighbors and the entire region are being flooded with methamphetamine.” Only recently, the police had seized 16 million amphetamine tablets in two missions in the same area within a week.

The Lao Brewery Company announced that it was in no way involved in the case. A statement said the company adhered to strict anti-drug trafficking policies and was “deeply disappointed that our boxes were being used as a cover for illegal activities”.


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