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Is Northeast turning out to be smugglers' paradise?

Following seizures of huge amounts of smuggled iems including narcotics and sophisticated arms and ammuniton not only

Northeast

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  20 Nov 2020 2:52 AM GMT

AIZAWL: Following seizures of huge amounts of smuggled iems including narcotics and sophisticated arms and ammuniton not only in the bordering States of Northeast but also the other States of the region, experts feel that the Northeast part of India is turning out to be smugglers' paradise in Southeast Asia.

Although Mizoram's international border with Bangladesh and Myanmar and inter-State borders with Tripura, Assam and Manipur are sealed in view of the COVID-19 outbreak,Is Northeast turning out to be smugglers' paradise in Southeast Asia? smuggling of various drugs, arms and ammunition and other contraband is still going on.

Mountainous Mizoram has an unfenced international border of 404 kms with Myanmar and 318 kms with Bangladesh. While the BSF guards the Bangladesh border, the border with Myanmar is looked after by Assam Rifles.

According to the Border Security Force, Assam Rifles and intelligence officials, Yaba tablets and other drugs are smuggled into the north-eastern States from neighbouring Myanmar and then smuggled to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and various Indian States.

An Assam Rifles' press statement said: "Ongoing illegal drug trades are a major cause of concern for the State of Mizoram. Assam Rifles, rightly christened as the 'Sentinels of North East' have been successful in launching such operations against the illicit smuggling in Mizoram."

A huge haul of Methamphetamine tablets worth Rs 10.50 crore were recently seized in Mizoram by the Assam Rifles troopers. A drug peddler from Myanmar was arrested in connection with the case, officials said.

Methamphetamine tablets (also called Yaba tablet or party tablet) contain a mix of methamphetamine and caffeine and are misused as high-dosage drugs in India, Bangladesh and neighbouring countries.

Acting on secret information, the Aizawl battalion of para-military Assam Rifles launched a joint operation with the officials of the Special Narcotics wing in eastern Mizoram's Champhai district and seized three lakh lakhs of Methamphetamine tablets.

The press statement said that the approximate market value of these drugs is estimated to be Rs 10.50 crore.

"A drug peddler, resident of Tahan in neighbouring Myanmar was arrested during the operation. The detainee along with the recovered drugs was handed over to Mizoram police for further investigations and prosecution," the statement said.

On July 26, Mizoram police arrested a man and his son with 1.9 kg heroin smuggled from neigbouring Myanmar to the State. "The men might have dropped around 280 grams of heroin, valued at Rs 15 lakh, while swimming across a river as they tried to flee after observing the presence of police force," a CID official said refusing to be named.

Assam Rifles personnel recently seized 25 trucks laden with betel nuts, worth around Rs 4 crore, smuggled from Myanmar. Such drugs and smuggled cigarettes were confiscated in September

Assam Forest officials on July 28 have seized some exotic wildlife species, suspected to have been smuggled from Myanmar, and arrested a truck driver and his assistant for carrying the endangered animals — a kangaroo, six Macaw parrots, three Aldabra tortoises and two capuchin monkeys. The truck was coming from Mizoram.

A large quantity of sophisticated weapons, including 28 AK-series rifles, and two vehicles were seized by the BSF and three persons arrested in Mizoram early on Tuesday, officials said.

In another such operation, the para-military troops laid an ambush at West Phaileng in western Mizoram's Mamit district and intercepted two vehicles, a BSF official said on September 29.

While conducting a thorough search of the two vehicles, the BSF personnel recovered 30 sophisticated arms and ammunition consisting of 28 AK-series rifles, one 5.56 mm AK-74 rifle and one 0.3 inch carbine. The BSF 90 Battalion officiating commandant SK Pillai also played a role in the operation. Besides the sophisticated arms, 7,894 assorted ammunition and 28 magazines were recovered from fabricated cavities in the vehicles.

The BSF also arrested three persons — Lalhuapzauva, 56, Vanlalruata, 25, and Liansanga, 46, all residents of Aizawl district. Indian currency amounting to Rs 39,020 and other articles were also recovered from the detainees.

Several such seizures have been reported in the period from August to October, 2020.

Even in November such seizures were made. A huge quantity of drugs, valued at Rs 287 crore, was seized in central Manipur's Thoubal District, Assam Rifles officials said on November 12

An Assam Rifles official said that the paramilitary troopers and Manipur Police personnel acting on secret information recovered 72 kg of brown sugar, valued at Rs 287 crore from a hideout in Kamu village of Thoubal District on Wednesday night. Though nobody was yet held in connection with the huge haul of drugs, the police and Assam Rifles are looking for the drug peddlers.

Officials said that the drugs were smuggled from Myanmar, which shares 1,643 km of unfenced border with four north-eastern States — Mizoram (510 km), Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km) and Nagaland (215 km). (IANS)

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