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The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed in the country on Saturday with the UN announcnig the theme of the day as “Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives”.

According to the DNC, more narcotics were recovered in pandemic year 2020 than previous years. DNC, police, RAB and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) seized 38,383,317 yaba pills, 1,337,177 bottles of phensidyl, 50,078kg of cannabis, about 72kg of opium and about 4kg of cocaine during raids across the country in 2020. As many as 113,543 people were arrested in 85,718 cases related to these narcotics.

In 2019, law enforcement agencies recovered 3,446,328 yaba pills, 978,663 bottles of phensidyl, 50,078kg of cannabis, 323kg of heroin, 1kg of opium and 1kg of cocaine.

Law enforcement agencies seized 1,637,795 yaba pills, 289,677 bottles of phensidyl, 24,868kg of cannabis, 129kg of heroin, 53kg of opium and 0.5kg of cocaine during raids across the country from January to April this year. As many as 39,774 people were accused in 30,588 cases related to the narcotics during this time.

Sources said cannabis is entering the country via Akhaura border of Brahmanbaria, phensidyl though Benapole border and yaba from Myanmar via Teknaf border.

The director general of DNC, Muhammed Ahsanul Jabbar told Prothom Alo recovery of narcotics and as well as filing of cases continues amid coronavirus pandemic as before. Drug dealers have been peddling narcotics by ambulance and freezer vans along with bodies despite movement of public transport being suspended during lockdown. Yaba smuggling hasn’t been stopping despite meetings with Myanmar, he added.

According to sources at the DMP headquarters, law enforcement agencies seized 3,289,749 yaba pills, 77,833 bottles of phensidyl, 8,681kg of cannabis, 57kg of heroin, 3kg of opium and 3kg of cocaine in the capital amid the pandemic in 2020. As many as 18,555 people were arrested for their involvement in narcotics.

In 2019, DMP recovered 3,243,274 yaba pills, 68,325 bottles of phensidyl and 3,449kg of cannabis and arrested 25,835 people.

More narcotics have been seized in January-May of 2021 than the corresponding time in 2020. The DMP seized 1,925,644 pieces of yaba pills, 35,209 bottles of phensidyl, 3,744kg of cannabis, 33kg of heroin, 10kg of opium and 3kg of cocaine in January-May of 2021. The DMP recovered 845,775 yaba pills, 21,825 bottles of phensidyl, 1,059kg of cannabis and 19kg of heroin in January-May of 2020.

A team of Detective Branch (DB) raided the capital’s Rayerbag on 23 June and seized a car. Twenty thousand yaba pills wrapped in a polythene bag were recovered from the vehicle’s gas cylinder. Two people – Jony Khan, 25, and Ridoy Sikder, 24, -- were arrested in the incident.

On the same day, another team of DB raided Khilkhet’s Shewra bus stand and recovered 36kg of yaba pills from a fuel tank lorry. A DB team of police seized an ambulance along with 250 bottles of phensidyl in front of Holy Family Hospital in Mogbazar on 8 May. DB officials said the ambulance driver was peddling drug instead of carrying patients.

DMP commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo many people are stressed, forced to stay at home during coronavirus. The demand for narcotics has also increased among drug addicts. Drugs are entering the country via various borders. Only seizure and arrest won’t stop drug dealing. All will have to cooperate with police to stop the use of drug, he added.

This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna

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