Serangan dadah Myanmar yang mencatat rekod menunjukkan sindiket jenayah Asia masih meningkat

Foto: CBP Photography dikongsi sebagai a Kerja Kerajaan Amerika Syarikat Domain Awam (PD)

Baru-baru ini pihak berkuasa Myanmar merampas 35.5 tons of drugs and chemicals in Shan State—a haul worth hundreds of millions of dollars—but the bust will have little impact on Southeast Asia’s expanding crime syndicates. The crackdown shows the drug trade is only becoming more deeply entrenched in the region’s economy.

editorial

In what may be Southeast Asia’s largest drug bust, authorities in Myanmar have mengumumkan the seizure of 35.5 tons of methamphetamine and other drugs and 163,000 liters of precursor chemicals in northeastern Myanmar’s Shan State. The sawan, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, took place in the area around Kutkai township between February 20 and April 9.

Makmal dadah di Shan State telah menjadi sumber narkotik utama untuk seluruh wilayah Asia Pasifik dalam beberapa tahun kebelakangan. Penyelidikan antarabangsa baru-baru ini mengenal pasti kekuatan dominan di sebalik perdagangan ini sebagai sindiket jenayah tunggal yang dikenali sebagai Sam Gor. Tidak ada laporan mengenai apakah penyitaan baru-baru ini berkaitan dengan organisasi ini, tetapi dari apa yang telah dinyatakan oleh pihak berkuasa, Sindiket ubat-ubatan di Asia Tenggara menghasilkan dan memperdagangkan ubat-ubatan pada skala sehingga beberapa lusin tan kerugian yang dapat diterima.

Operasi di Shan disita 193 juta tablet metamfetamin "yaba" - hampir 18 banyak metod - serta lebih 500 kilogram metam kristal, 630 kilogram efedrin, 588 kilogram candu dan 292 kilogram heroin. Kuantiti metamfetamin yang dijumpai hampir dua kali ganda daripada jumlah yang disita oleh pemerintah Myanmar dalam 2018 atau 2019.

Pihak berkuasa juga menyita 3,500 liter metilfentanil cecair, yang digunakan untuk membuat fentanyl, opioid sintetik yang mematikan yang dilaporkan lima puluh kali lebih kuat daripada heroin dan mematikan dalam dos sekecil dua miligram. Fentanyl sebahagiannya disalahkan atas tiga ubat berlebihan di Bangkok akhir tahun lalu. Kejadian itu menyebabkan beberapa orang percaya bahawa fentanyl kini berada dalam bekalan heroin di ibu negara Thailand.

"Kita hari ini dapat mengesahkan bahawa pengeluaran dan pemerdagangan dadah melalui dan melalui Shan bukanlah yang difikirkan oleh beberapa orang; ia lebih daripada tablet met dan kristal dan telah berkembang menjadi opioid sintetik pada skala yang tidak dijangka," berkata Jeremy Douglas, Pejabat PBB mengenai Dadah dan Jenayah (UNODC) Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

UNODC anggaran that the Asia-Pacific methamphetamine trade could be worth US$61.4 billion per year—not far behind Myanmar’s GDP of $71.2 bilion. For drug producers involved in a business of that scale, the loss of a few hundred million dollars may do little to slow them down. While the recent seizures are laudable, they suggest that drug syndicates and traffickers are only becoming stronger and more deeply entrenched in the region’s economy.

Crackdowns do little to slow Southeast Asia’s drug business

Myanmar percubaan to crack down on drug production in Shan State have largely been futile. Raids yield few arrests and often appear as though someone tipped off the traffickers before authorities arrive.

pada bulan Mac, the Myanmar military seized US$64 million in narcotics, chemicals and equipment in Kutkai’s Kaungkha Village. The drugs were found in empty buildings and no one was arrested. “It is difficult to say who those drugs belong to,” military spokesperson Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun told the media after the bust.

Authorities have arrested more than 130 people in connection with the recent record-setting drug busts, but this is a small price for traffickers to pay to keep the profitable trade moving.

“Even though the operation in Kutkai township [resulted in] the military seizing over a million [dolar] worth of drugs, business is still booming and prices are still falling,” U Tin Maung Thein, of Shan State anti-drug trafficking group Mana, kepada Radio Free Asia.

Profits soar for the multinational syndicate behind Southeast Asia’s drug trade

Menurut satu Reuters akaun published last October, the Sam Gor syndicate now mass produces synthetic drugs in labs in northeastern Shan State using precursor chemicals smuggled over the border from China. The UNODC estimates that this single syndicate may bring in as much as US$17.7 billion per year and likely controls 40-70% of the region’s wholesale methamphetamine trade.

As Richard Horsey, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, menulis in a report last year, “The trade in ice, along with amphetamine tablets and heroin, has become so large and profitable that it dwarfs the formal economy of Shan State, lies at the heart of its political economy, fuels criminality and corruption and hinders efforts to end the state’s long-running ethnic conflicts.”

New UNODC report documents expanding trade

The announcement of the seizures come on the heels of a new laporan from the UNODC on the expansion of the synthetic drug trade in Southeast Asia. Menurut laporan itu, supplies of synthetic drugs in the region are increasing dramatically and the price of methamphetamine is at its lowest in a decade.

“In short, organized crime groups are in a position to provide better quality methamphetamine at much cheaper prices compared to a decade ago, increasing affordability and harm at the same time”, berkata Inshik Sim, a UNODC illicit drugs analyst.

“While the world has shifted its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals continue at record levels in the region," berkata Douglas.

sumber: UNODC

Pada tahun 2019, authorities in Southeast Asia seized a total of 115 tan methamphetamine, but this figure doesn’t include data from Japan or Australia, the destination markets for much of the region’s narcotics trade.

UNODC also reports that the variety of narcotics in the region has increased, in part due to the popularity of new synthetic opioids. Sebelum ini 2014, the agency identified only three opioids in the region; dalam 2019, it recorded 28 different opioids.

Southeast Asia’s drug trade has grown rapidly in part because producers have switched from opium to synthetic drugs. Synthetics, manufactured in labs, are easier to produce and the potential profit margins are astronomical. In northeastern Myanmar, a kilogram of wholesale crystal meth may sell for US$1,800, according to the UNODC. di Thailand, that same kilogram will sell for $70,500. Di Australia, it’s worth $298,000 and in Japan, it could net traffickers $588,000—300 times the wholesale price.

Myanmar’s drug trade fuels armed conflict

An increasingly profitable drug trade also doesn’t bode well for Myanmar’s ongoing civil wars, as some ethnic armed groups rely on income from trafficking to purchase arms, hold territory and pay fighters.

“There isn’t a thriving licit economy that will make you the kinds of money that you need to sustain fighters. So you turn to illicit: pengekstrakan sumber, pembalakan, money laundering and, sudah tentu, illicit narcotics," berkata Horsey in an interview with NPR tahun lepas.

Some of the militias involved in drug production in Shan State are backed by the Myanmar military. In Kutkai, where the recent mass seizures took place, the Kaungkha militia provides security and support untuk pengeluar ubat-ubatan dengan restu pembesar suara Parlimen Union Myanmar, T Khun Myat.

Tetapi pada masa yang sama, tentera didakwa telah mengenal pasti militan Kaungkha sebagai rakan kewangan utama untuk kumpulan bersenjata etnik iaitu Tentera Arakan (AA). AA telah terlibat dalam pertempuran berterusan dengan tentera Myanmar sejak Januari 2019. The bertempur di Negeri Rakhine telah memindahkan beratus-ratus ribu orang dan menyebabkan hampir berterusan laporan pembunuhan dan penahanan orang awam.

Dalam bulan April, yang laporan diterbitkan oleh Monitor Keganasan dan Pemberontakan Jane mengatakan bahawa tentera Myanmar telah mengenal pasti perkongsian perdagangan dadah antara AA dan milisi Kaungkha. Melalui perkongsian, perdagangan ubat telah menjadi "penjana utama puluhan juta dolar yang diperlukan untuk merekrut, kereta api, dan melengkapkan tentera pemberontak. "

Laporan itu juga didakwa bahawa Komando Timur Laut tentera Myanmar telah mengetahui keterlibatan milisi dalam perdagangan dadah selama bertahun-tahun dan "hampir pasti" mendapat keuntungan dari perdagangan.

Milisi ini pernah menjadi sebahagian daripada Tentera Kemerdekaan Kachin (KIA) di utara Myanmar dan mendapat sokongan tentera setelah berpisah dari kumpulan bersenjata. pada bulan Mac, namun begitu, tentera menahan sebilangan pemimpin kumpulan itu dan merampas 2,000 senjatanya. Menurut jurucakap tentera Myanmar, Brigadier Jeneral Zaw Min, tentera melucutkan senjata kumpulan itu kerana penglibatannya dalam perdagangan dadah.

Balik-balik ini khas dari tindak balas Myanmar terhadap perdagangan ubat-ubatan di Negara Shan dan tidak banyak yang dapat mengekang perniagaan bernilai berbilion dolar. Though the recent seizures and arrests may show the Myanmar military and police are ramping up enforcement efforts, these efforts won’t substantially affect groups like the Sam Gor syndicate.

“What has been unearthed through this operation is truly off-the-charts, and it is clear that a network of production facilities like those found would not be possible without the involvement and financial backing of serious transnational organized criminal groups”, berkata Douglas of the recent busts.

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