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Police seize more than 900kg of opium in Shan state

Soldiers use sticks to destroy poppy fields above the village of Ho Hwayt, in the mountains of Shan state on 26 January 2012. (Reuters)

Police in southern Shan state’s Pinlaung township seized more than 900kg of raw opium during a raid at a cave in the area after being tipped off that the site was being used to produce narcotics.

Pinlaung Police, along with officials from the anti-narcotics task force, confiscated 912kg of raw opium and 14.2kg of brown opium along with chemicals and equipment used to produce illicit drugs, according to the Burma Police Force’s website.

Pinlaung Police Commander Tin Maung Lay said this was the largest narcotics seizure in the area in the past 10 years. He said four people have been detained for questioning in connection with the raid.

According to a UN Office for Drugs and Crime report that was published last October, opium production increased by 17 percent in the last year in Burma, with approximately 300,000 households growing poppy.

For decades, the production and smuggling of opium and amphetamines have provided a steady source of income to ethnic militias in northeastern Burma where rebel armies have battled against government troops and amongst themselves for greater autonomy.