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Four men were arrested after police recovered over 1.7 million pieces of yaba tablets and Tk 17.1 million in cash in Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday, police said.

Alleged yaba trader Zahirul Islam Faruk was first arrested with 1.4 million contraband tablets from the sadar upazila’s Choufoldondi river around noon, reports news agency UNB.

Later, the law enforcement members seized two sacks containing Tk 17.65 million from his house.

In continuation of the drive, police raided the house of Faruk’s relative Syed Ahmed and recovered another 375,000 pieces of yaba.

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The seized contraband drug has a street value of Tk 532.5 million (Tk 53.25 crore), police said.

Cox’s Bazar police superintendent Md Hasanuzzaman said they got the names of some ‘yaba godfathers’ from Faruk. Many of them were previously not in police record.

Bangladesh’s yaba problem

Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine (a powerful and addictive stimulant) and caffeine. Yaba, which means ‘crazy medicine’ in Thai, is produced in Southeast and East Asia.

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Since it first appeared in Bangladesh’s landscape in the early 2000s, hundreds of thousands of people in the country have become hooked on yaba. It is a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine sold as cheap red or pink pills.

Bangladesh has cracked down harshly on the popular club drug with many yaba traders being killed in so-called crossfires.

The tablets are manufactured illegally in Myanmar and are smuggled into Bangladesh mainly through the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar in huge quantities. Although the border guards and the law enforcement occasionally intercept and catch consignments, a huge number of tablets do make into the country.

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