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Laos police net 55 mn meth pills in Asia’s biggest drug bust

A Laos police officer stand in front of piles of seized illegal drugs during a burning ceremony in Xam Neau town on June 26, 2018. Photo: Aidan Jones/AFP

Laotian police have netted Asia’s biggest-ever single seizure of illegal drugs, finding 55 million methamphetamine pills in the back of a beer truck, a United Nations official confirmed Thursday.

The 55.6 million meth tablets and 1.5 tonnes of crystal meth seized late Wednesday is a record for a single seizure in the region, UN Office of Drugs and Crime regional representative Jeremy Douglas said.

“It is three times the meth tablets that Laos seized all last year, and close to a third of the crystal meth,” Douglas told AFP.

Laos has in recent years been a gateway for drug traffickers moving meth shipments out of Myanmar’s troubled Shan state. The trend has noticeably accelerated in recent months, exacerbated by February’s coup and economic collapse in Myanmar.

Authorities arrested the driver of a Beer Lao truck in Bokeo province, northern Laos, which is part of the so-called Golden Triangle — a notorious drug smuggling zone at the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

Lao Brewery issued a statement denying any involvement.

“We are deeply disappointed that our crates have been abused as a cover for illegal activities,” the brewery said, adding that the truck in question was not registered with the company.

© Agence France-Presse

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