Yaba traders are now selling crystal methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘Ice’, a highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system, along with Yaba.
Law enforcers agencies hinted that Yaba markets are being replaced by Ice as the drugs are now being smuggled from Myanmar at comparatively lower price than the Ice from East Asian countries.
Thus Yaba, the most popular illegal drug which dominated the country’s narcotic market until recently, is now losing its place to ice.
A sharp rise in Ice smuggling suggests that the demand for the drug is increasing day by day.
On March 7, a team of Rapid Action Battalion arrested one drug peddler and seized one kilogram of Ice from the capital Dhaka.
Talking to Bangladesh Post on March 8, RAB-10 Commanding Officer Mahfuzur Rahman said, getting secret information, a team of RAB-10 raided Kodomtuli area in the city on March 7 and arrested drug trader Md Jahidul Islam.
‘We recovered one Kg ice, worth Tk 5,0200,000/- from his possession, RAB-10 Director said to this correspondent.
We also seized 5,013 pieces of Yaba, he said.
As we are now recovering the drugs, it means, there is a demand for the drugs among the drug addicts.
He however said, we need to work more to say that ice is replacing the Yaba pills.
Responding to another question, the boss of RAB-10, who is also an Additional Deputy Inspector General of Police said, new narcotics are coming from a neighboring country.
Moshiur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner of Detective Branch ( Gulshan Division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told this correspondent on March 8 that earlier ice was smuggled from East Asia through airways. That time narcotic ice was very rare and highly costly.
The senior DB officer said, but now ice is being smuggled into Bangladesh from Myanmar. Now the smugglers do not need air fare, they smuggle using low cost boats. Thus the price of ice is going down.
Once young men and women from solvent families used to take ice for their so-called celebration. Now it is spreading among all classes due to low cost. It will be more dangerous for our society if we fail to eliminate the ice rackets from the country, DB’s Gulshan Division chief opined .
Responding to a question, DC Moshiur Rahman said, last year, we arrested two BGB personnel with 3 KGs of ice.
Talking to Bangladesh Post on March 8, Assistant Director of DNC’s Cox’s Bazar office Mohammad Ruhul Amin said, last year I seized three grams of ice only. But there is a special zone of the DNC in Teknaf, which alone recovered one kilogram of ice last year.
Responding to a question, he said, the drug ice is smuggled into Bangladesh from Myanmar. At present, there is no route of Ice, except Myanmar.
He admitted that the popularity of ice is increasing among drug addicts day by day.
As huge consignments of ice are smuggled into the country from Myanmar through the Yaba route of Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar, law enforcement agencies have been put on alert due to a rise in trade and use of the drug.
According to an assistant director of the DNC, all the consignments of Ice that were seized have been found in possession of upper-class children. Some of them used to take Yaba first. Later they started taking ice. Some of them also started Ice business to make quick bucks.
Initially ice was referred to as an elite drug. But now ice is slowly gaining popularity among general drug users in the country. Children of rich families, businessmen and people of various professions are drowning in the intoxication of the drug.
Several gangs are now active in Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani and Uttara of the capital to boost the ice market. Despite the special surveillance by the law enforcement agencies, the situation has reached such a level that now the consumers can buy the drug item by only raising their hands.
On October 16 last year, RAB personnel seized 5 kg of crystal meth in Dhaka, in the biggest haul of the drug in the country.
Law enforcers fear that if smuggling cannot be prevented right now, the drug which causes 20 times more reaction than Yaba may become as widespread as Yaba among the general consumers.
At least 20 gangs have been formed in the capital alone to spread crystal meth. They are targeting high-class people and encouraging them to take crystal meth.
Experts said Ice, which is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine, generates tremendous stimulation in a short period of time after consumption. The drug can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected and while the effect is instant euphoria, the damage is lasting.
Earlier, many people arrested by the law enforcement agencies were released on bail and they are doing the same crystal meth business again. Law enforcement agencies are struggling to arrest the gangsters as they are secretly trading in crystal meth.
It came to be known that the multiple consumption techniques of crystal meth are attracting more new users. And taking advantage of this opportunity, many Yaba traders have switched to the crystal meth business.
In 2018, law enforcement officers busted the first Ice lab in Bangladesh in Dhaka’s Jigatala and arrested Hasib Bin Muammar Rashid.
On January 21, BGB seized 5 kg of crystal methamphetamine worth Tk 25 crore in Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar, joint largest haul of crystal meth in the country.
On January 22, the border guards detained two suspected drug smugglers in Cox’s Bazar and seized 1 kg of crystal meth worth Tk 5 crore from their possession.