Myanmar soldiers have found several illegal drug laboratories to confiscate nearly $ 27 million in narcotics, chemicals and equipment, the military newspaper The Myawady said on Monday, the biggest failure so far this year.
Photos showed hundreds of drums, sacks, and other containers that were recovered while operating in what is believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine-producing nation.
Troops searched several locations in the Kutkai township in eastern Shan state over the weekend after receiving a tip, the newspaper said.
They found around 18 million tablets, about 33 kilograms of heroin and 281 barrels of acid, which were hidden in a pit along with other devices such as ovens, machines for making tablets and vehicles.
"It's the biggest seizure this year," an anti-drug police officer told AFP and asked not to be named.
Myanmar's multi-billion dollar drug industry is concentrated in Shan in the east of the country, where the poppy-covered hills also hide illegal production laboratories.
High-quality crystal meth – often known as ice cream – is smuggled out of the country into lucrative markets as far as Seoul, Tokyo or Sydney.
There is now a booming regional market for lower quality tablets known as Yaba, which are also becoming increasingly popular in Myanmar.
A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime shows that crime gangs in Southeast Asia earn more than $ 60 billion a year thanks to sophisticated smuggling and money laundering operations – a conservative estimate, experts say.
Myanmar confiscated an estimated $ 374 million in drugs in 2019, according to the Anti-Drugs Department.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)