The smugglers had gone into hiding after an anti-drug drive was launched in May
The smuggling of contraband yaba pills has picked up pace in the coastal district — after a weeks-long of hiatus following a countrywide crackdown on drugs.
Yaba pills worth millions of Bangladeshi Taka are being smuggled in by land and waterways. The law enforcement agencies have managed to seize only small portions of the shipments.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and the Department of Narcotics Control seized yaba and drugs worth an estimated Tk60 million and Tk30 million, respectively, last month.
More than 100 smugglers were also detained during this period. Police, RAB, and the Bangladesh Coast Guard also brought in big hauls.
Eight suspected drug peddlers have been killed in alleged gunfights in Cox’s Bazar since the government launched its anti-drugs drive. Many top drug dealers went into hiding, leading to a slump in smuggling.
They have become active again now that the anti-narcotics drive is losing intensity.
“We cannot say that yaba-smuggling has lessened. Yaba shipments are entering Bangladesh every day,” said DNC’s Cox’s Bazar Assistant Director Soumen Mondol.
He said the government has appointed 10 people to the DNC’s Teknaf office, and provided a vehicle.
“We have to crack down on yaba and drug smuggling—and create a social movement against the menace,” he added.
Teknaf 2 BGB commander Lt Col Asaduzzaman Chowdhury said they are working overtime to stop the smugglers.
He said the BGB seized yaba and drugs worth Tk5.91 crore last month. Forty-six smugglers have been arrested and implicated in 164 cases. A yaba shipment worth Tk1.49 crore was seized on Wednesday.
RAB 7 Cox’s Bazar company commander Major Mehedi Hasan said they have set up five new camps with 15 platoons of RAB members to tackle drug smuggling.
“Special anti-drug drives have been launched in the district. We have set up special check posts in Ukhiya, Teknaf, and Marine Drive,” he added.