Roadside drug trading in Thanbyuzayat Township
December 22, 2015
HURFOM: Just 10 miles from Thanbyuzayat, Mon State, lies the village of Sakhan Gyi. Moving out from Sakhan Gyi, towards Sanpya village, the road is lined with farms and rubber plantations. According to locals, in recent years the verdant spot has become a hotspot for drug trading and use.
Nai Htaw, a resident in nearby Wang Rai village, explained, “This area is a place where drug business is conducted freely… Some go there just to use drugs. Others go to buy and resell in their villages. Customers [by the Sakhan Gyi-Sanpya road] pay 2500 to 3000 Kyat per [methamphetamine] pill. They can resell the pills [in their village] for 5000 to 6000 Kyat per pill. They make a good profit, as good as rubber tapping”.
Drug sellers are reported to come from Sanpya and Sakhan Gyi villages, while buyers are thought to travel to the area from villages around Thanbyuzayat.
According to residents, village dealers are known to buy up to 100 methamphetamine pills in one purchase, as often as every three to four days. While the large-scale drug trading going on in roadside plantations is common knowledge locally, law enforcement officials have not yet visited the area to investigate.
Nai Htaw expressed concerns about the impact of freely available drugs on local crime and social cohesion. He explained, “Youths have started to use drugs more often because they are freely available. A 30-year-old man was brought to NMSP [the New Mon State Party] because his wife could not handle him any more. He used drugs too often. Now he has stopped. He used to burn houses around the village using a lighter, even his own house”.