43 Bangladeshi Yaba godfathers still at large | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:25 PM, February 18, 2019

43 godfathers still at large

All named in home ministry list; yaba shipments from Myanmar keep coming

Despite the surrender of 102 top narcos in Teknaf, yaba smuggling continues under the supervision of some listed godfathers and hundi traders who recently launched credit sales of the pink pills.  

“A dozen yaba dealers in Myanmar send yaba shipments to Bangladesh on receiving orders from these godfathers,” said a high official of the district police.

“The payment is made to the Myanmar dealers by hundi traders in Teknaf after top dealers staying in Dubai and India order the transaction,” he told The Daily Star yesterday, requesting anonymity.

Of 73 godfathers named on a list of the home ministry, 24 surrendered to police on Saturday. Some six others were killed in “gunfights” with law enforcers while 43 are still at large.

The rest of the 102 include 16 family members of former lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi and 10 local elected representatives.

ABM Masud Hossain, police superintendent in Cox's Bazar, said they got some detailed information and would conduct operations soon to arrest the dealers and their patrons soon.

Besides, they will write to the authorities concerned for action against those staying abroad. “We are verifying all the information and will go for action to destroy the syndicate,” he added.

According to an intelligence report finalised after quizzing the 102, three types of pink tablets -- R7, WY and unnamed -- cross the Myanmar border through 12 points and enter Bangladesh from 36 points of Teknaf and Ukhia upazilas in Cox's Bazar.

In Teknaf, the price of R7 is Tk 60 per piece, WY Tk 40 and the unnamed Tk 30.

The report, seen by The Daily Star, also says Rohingyas working as carriers bring five to 20 thousand pills each apart from the smugglers.

The 102 godfathers and dealers were kept in police “safe house” in district police line since January 10 before their surrender, but the yaba shipments continued.

The database of Department of Narcotics Control shows the agency recovered some 8,200 yaba pills in Teknaf alone over the first 16 days of this month. The Rapid Action Battalion seized 40,000 pieces of yaba and arrested a drug trader on Saturday.

A high official of BGB, requesting anonymity, told The Daily Star that they have a list of 1,500 yaba dealers and carriers. About 700 of them got arrested, he added.

43 STILL OUTSIDE

Locals and law enforcement sources say some 15 top listed godfathers are often found roaming different areas of Teknaf.

Four of them were even seen in the audience during the surrender programme. They are Zafar Ahmed, 65, chairman of Teknaf upazila; his son Md Shahjahan, 39, chairman of Teknaf Sadar union; Rafiq Uddin, 60, Teknaf upazila vice-chairman, and Aziz Uddin, 53, Baharchhara Union Parishad chairman.

Once a day labourer, Zafar was an associate of former Awami League lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi's father Ezahar Company. With Bodi's blessings, he became upazila chairman in 2014.

Sources said Zafar got involved in yaba business in early 2010. His elder son Mostaq Ahmed, another top yaba dealer, went missing four years back and still remains traceless.

His another son, Didar Mia, 35, surrendered to police on Saturday but Zafar and Shahjahan are yet to give themselves up. They have two buildings and a dozen plots in Teknaf, locals said.

The father and son could not be reached over the phone for comments.

Rafiq Uddin used to work in different mosques and madrasas but now he is the owner of a duplex and several plots in the upazila, locals said.

His brother Aziz Uddin was also a madrasa teacher. Like his brother, he also got engaged in yaba trade and made a fortune, sources say.

None of them were available for comments. 

Although Bodi's four brothers and 12 relatives surrendered to police, one of his younger brothers Mujibur Rahman, whose name is on the third position of the home ministry list, is still free.

Mujibur, the panel mayor of Teknaf municipality, is said to be one of the major patrons of yaba smuggling. He owns a number of plots in Teknaf, locals say.

Talking to The Daily Star, Mujibur, however, claimed his name mistakenly appeared on the list and he applied to the ministry, police and Rab to remove it.

According to law enforcement sources, top yaba smuggler Haji Saiful Karim, 46, has been playing a key role from Dubai in running the syndicate as the payment system is controlled mostly by him.

He has flats, buildings, residential hotels in Cox's Bazar and Chattogram though he started his career as a peon of a private company.

Anisur Rahman Yahya, 58, hails from Shah Porir Island of Teknaf but he mostly lives in Khulshi area of Chattagram. All of his family members are involved in smuggling since their home is located near the Myanmar border, sources claim.

Nurul Hoque Bhutto, 45, has a luxurious building in Nazirpara area of Teknaf. As he is on the run, a close aide now looks after yaba smuggling in his place. 

A group of journalists came under attack in 2017 for reporting on him, sources said.

Neither Yahya nor Bhutto could be contacted.

Listed godfather Kashem Ansari, 35, is the younger brother of yaba dealer Shahjahan Ansari, 45, who surrendered to police on Saturday.

Sources say Kashem started as a carrier for his brother and now he owns several luxurious buildings. He could not be found in the locality.

Md Younus Bhutto, 50, a pickpocket, shop worker Azizul Islam Sohel, 35, small trader Mostaq Ahmed, 38, small product supplier Nurul Amin, 55, caretaker Nurul Afsar, 40, and Salahuddin, 35, have emerged as godfathers, according to the list.

None of them was found for comments.

Police say apart from the listed godfathers, some 500 new dealers are active in Teknaf now.

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