Four days after the seizure of 1.44 lakh pieces of yaba tablets in Comilla, Detective Branch of police on Monday night arrested six drug traders with 45,000 yaba tablets in the capital's Kamalapur Stadium area.
Quoting the arrestees, Nazrul Islam Mollah, deputy commissioner of DB-North, said the six had bought the yaba tablets from a drug dealer, Nurul Huda of Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. They got caught in a DB raid before selling those drugs to trader Jewel at Azimpur and Ramjan at Khilgaon, he added.
DB police also seized a car and six mobile phones from their possessions.
Among the illegal drug items, the use of yaba has been spreading across the country at an alarming rate, and its smuggling has intensified, keeping pace with demand, said officials of the Directorate of Narcotics Control (DNC), police, the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).
Yaba is produced mainly in China, Myanmar and India and smuggled into the country through the borders and airports, they said.
There are more than one hundred groups involved in smuggling and trafficking of yaba, Nazrul said.
The drug traders arrested on Monday are Shamsul Huda, 28, Shamsul Alam, 23, Mohammad Shaheen alias Jewel, 24, Syed Alam, 25, Abdul Khalek, 24, and Abdul Gafur, 29.
On November 16, BGB men recovered Yaba tablets at Soagazi in Comilla on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
Lt Col Akhtaruzzaman, commanding officer of BGB 33 battalion, told The Daily Star that those tablets had been smuggled into the country from India through the Comilla border.
A consignment of 2,70,000 yaba tablets, the largest so far, worth Tk 10 crore was seized on May 18 from the Naf river. The Chinese-made drugs seized by Rab had been brought into the port city from Myanmar.
Rab officials said a transnational drug network was engaged in yaba smuggling and trading. A tablet from China is purchased at Tk 30, which the local peddlers sell for Tk 300.
Abu Taleb, additional director of the DNC, Dhaka division, said, "The use of yaba tablets has become a fashion, especially for youths, and that is why smuggling of yaba tablets has increased rapidly."
Asked why people preferred yaba to other drugs, he said, "It is easy to carry yaba. Besides, it is mainly a 'party drug'." A number of "recreation clubs" have sprouted up in posh areas like Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Baridhara and Uttara in the capital, which have also contributed to the expansion of the use of yaba.
Abu Taleb added that children from elite society were first found taking yaba but by now it has percolated down to the young in districts and villages.