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Due to poor scanning facilities, illegal drugs are being smuggled to and from Bangladesh through courier services as smugglers have been using the country as a transit route.

According to officials of DNC and law enforcement agencies, new varieties of drugs are arriving in the country, using the courier services as disguise.

In the latest reported consignments, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD– a powerful hallucinogenic drug) and crystal methamphetamine (ice or khat– a stimulant drug) were smuggled into Bangladesh with assistance of some unscrupulous staff of courier services, officials said.

Last year, DNC filed at least 20 cases against drug trafficking. Of the cases, seven are now under trial while the rest are being investigated.

DNC’s investigative officers have learnt that drugs from Bangladesh were smuggled to countries in Middle-East, Europe, United States, Australia and some others.

Of the 20 cases, 17 were filed following seizure of yaba tablets (Amphetamine-type stimulants or ATS). Of the yaba cases, three were filed with Tejgaon Industrial Zone police station, accusing a single drug racket that had tried to smuggle in 4,550 yaba tablets in August, 2020. Police caught Shah Alam, the kingpin of the racket, and his two associates, Yusuf Mollah and Saddam Hossain.

DNC has evidence that some courier staff were involved in the drug smuggling. On 10 August last year, DNC seized six travel bags full of 3,500 yaba tablets from a warehouse of a multinational courier service. The consignment was destined for Saudi Arabia. In connection with the case, police arrested a local courier service’s Kishorganj branch manager Mostafizur Rahman, and his two assistants Abu Darda and Mozammel. Further investigation found that Mostafizur facilitated the smuggling in exchange of money.

Additional director general of DNC Abdus Sabur Mandal said that necessary measures were being taken to curb drug smuggling through courier services. “Courier service staff are being trained to detect drugs in parcels. Identification of the entire network involved in drug trafficking using courier services is underway,” he said.

According to DNC officials, courier service providers are instructed to install closed circuit camera and to preserve real-time footage. Instructions are given to them to install scanner at parcel booking points.

Courier Service Association of Bangladesh president Hafizur Rahman, also the owner of Sundarban Courier Service, told Prothom Alo, “Many courier service providers do not have licences. Registered courier service companies always follow the instructions of the concerned agencies including the DNC. We are assisting the regulatory bodies to bring the drug smugglers to book.”

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