Burmese authorities have seized US$ 1.57 million in illicit drugs being transported on the Chindwin River, state-run media said on Tuesday.
Together with the seized drugs, five suspects were arrested when a squad of the Monywa anti-narcotic task force searched a boat in the river near Latpansu village in Kani Township, said the New Light of Myanmar. Kani is a town in Sagaing Region located on the west bank of Chindwin River about 104 miles from Pakokku.
The confiscated drugs included 13.06 million pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets weighing 2,005 kilograms (kg) (4,400 pounds) and 9 kg of ephedrine, the report said, adding that authorities are looking for more accomplices.
This week, the Myanmar Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control announced an extension of its 15-year drug eradication plan (1999-2014) for another five years until 2019.
According to an official report in July, Burmese authorities handled 342 drug-related cases and punished 473 persons including 84 women. During the month, the authorities seized 22.55 kg of opium, 116. 6 kg of heroin, 14.54 kg of marijuana and 1,460,939 stimulant tablets.
In June, Burmese authorities ceremonially burned seized narcotic drugs worth of a total of $102.38 million.
On Sept. 17, Mizzima reported that the United States said Burma had “failed demonstrably” in fighting the drug war, but that it would grant it a “national interest waiver” for development aid because of its ongoing democratic reforms.
The Obama administration noted that Burma has been “blacklisted” since 2002 and is the world's second largest grower of opium poppy, but said the country had made significant strides this year in joining the international fight against illegal drugs.
Burmese officials said they have already destroyed more than three times the amount of opium poppy fields as they did last year, according to the US president's annual memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that helps set US drug policy.
Burma has also strengthened cooperation with regional and international partners, and engaged with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said the memorandum.
Nonetheless, “Burma's current counter narcotics performance is not sufficient to meet its international counternarcotic cooperation obligations,” Obama said.
The statement said that “given the government's demonstrated commitment to reform and promising signs of action on future poppy eradication, it is in the interest of the US government to grant Burma a national interest waiver.”