Yaba Smuggling in Cox's Bazar: 500 agents now take full control
12:00 AM, February 14, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:06 AM, February 14, 2019

Yaba Smuggling in Cox's Bazar: 500 agents now take full control

Surrender of godfathers on Saturday

A syndicate of around 500 paid agents and carriers, who once oversaw yaba smuggling on behalf of their godfathers and dealers, has now taken control of the trade in Teknaf and Ukhia, the entry points of the drug to Bangladesh.

They are running the business independently and smuggling in the pink pills from Myanmar. Of them, 30 are big traders, a high official of Cox's Bazar district police told The Daily Star yesterday, seeking anonymity.

“We got the names of the agents and carriers by interrogating at least 80 yaba godfathers and dealers,” said the official.

These syndicate members have come up with a new strategy to do business. They no longer demand advance from buyers and now sell the crazy pills on credit.

“They take money from buyers after the pills are delivered. At least 20 hundi traders are helping these agents,” mentioned the official, who was involved in the interrogation.

The official further said several godfathers revealed that they had around 40 agents to look after their business.

“We later kept a watch on the activities of the agents and found that 35 of them are now running yaba trade independently,” said the official.

Asked why police couldn't learn about these agents earlier, the official said they recently found out that some of the law enforcers, who worked in Teknaf one or two years ago, were aware of these agents, but didn't take any action or include their names in the list of yaba dealers.

In the last five months, more than a hundred police officials, who had been posted in Teknaf and Ukhia, were either attached to the Cox's Bazar Police Lines or transferred elsewhere for their alleged links with yaba dealers.

Talking to this correspondent yesterday, ABM Masud Hossain, superintendent of police in Cox's Bazar, said they recently got information on new yaba smugglers, who were not on any list of yaba dealers.

“We are now verifying the names ... we will take action once the verification is over,” he said. 

Sources said the district police recently obtained information on some beneficiaries of the yaba trade, who got hefty amounts from godfathers for helping them run the business.

Asked about this, police officials declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the district police have completed all preparations for the much-talked-about surrender of yaba godfathers and dealers.

The surrender will take place at 10:00am on February 16 at Teknaf Pilot School playground.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Inspector General of Police Mohammad Javed Patwary will be present there, said SP Masud.

“We are expecting that around 100 yaba godfathers and dealers will surrender to police on that day,” he added.

Interestingly, former lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi, who played a big role in persuading yaba godfathers and dealers to surrender, was asked not to attend the programme. His wife, lawmaker Shahin Akhter will be present as a guest, said sources.

Eighty yaba godfathers and dealers, who have been kept at a police safe house at Cox's Bazar District Police Lines, will surrender at the programme. They include 30 godfathers who are on the list of yaba traders prepared by the home ministry.

Five family members of Bodi are among them. They are his brothers Abdul Amin, Md Shafiq and Faisal Rahman, and nephews Shahed Rahman Nipu and Shahed Kamal.

Police have already drawn up a list that includes these 80 yaba godfathers and dealers. Some more names will be added in the next two days, said police sources.

These yaba traders will surrender on condition that no new cases will be filed against them, the sources added.

“We assured them that they will not face any new case. But they have to fight legal battles in the cases filed against them in the past,” a high-up of the district police told this newspaper.

“Once they came out of jail, they will work with law enforcers to stop the trade, and provide information on other traders and smugglers ... They have agreed to do so,” said the official, seeking anonymity.

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