Just days before his arrest on Sunday, Abdullah Jubayer had set up a makeshift factory in Chittagong to make a small quantity of yaba tablets on a test basis. The test mission successful, he was then all set to produce the contraband pill in the capital to ensure its uninterrupted flow in the local market.
Detectives, who interrogated Jubayer yesterday, the first day of his seven-day remand, said the 28-year-old hired some Myanmar nationals who have expertise in making the drug.
They were supposed to come to the capital to train the local gang members after the factory had been set up.
The idea was to reduce the risk of smuggling the tablet from Myanmar and maximise profit by locally producing it, said the detectives.
The plan failed, however, on Sunday as police arrested Jubayer and his three accomplices and seized tools of a yaba-making machine and 55,000 pieces of the tablet in the capital's Khilgaon area.
According to the detectives, Jubayer was born in Myanmar to a Bangladeshi couple who are originally from Chittagong's Banshkhali but settled there decades ago. They later returned to Chittagong.
At one point, Jubayer worked at a clearing and forwarding firm at the Chittagong port. In the last four years, he amassed huge wealth through yaba business.
Detectives are yet to determine his wealth, but said he bought a flat for Tk 95 lakh at Niketon in the capital and a sport utility vehicle (SUV) for Tk 65 lakh from a garment-waste trader named Ratan.
Ratan had bought it from a lawmaker, claimed the detectives, but did not name the lawmaker.
Jahangir Hossain Matubbar, a deputy commissioner of detective police, said Jubayer wanted to set up the factory in Bangladesh to make more profit by ensuring nonstop flow of the item because sometimes it runs out of supply due to strict vigilance by law enforcers.
If he could set up the factory, he could produce 1,500 to 2,000 pieces of yaba per hour. Some of its raw materials are available in the county as those are also used as the raw materials in medicine factories. The gang had plans to smuggle the rest of the materials from Myanmar, he said.
Jubayer had a home in Myanmar and he used to travel to the country very frequently to smuggle the tablet himself mostly through waterways.
Most of the persons held so far in connection with yaba smuggling are either carriers or retailers, but Jubayer is one of the godfathers of the illegal business in the country, detective Jahangir added.
Yaba, the Thai word for "crazy medicine," is a mix of methamphetamine, better known as crystal meth, and caffeine that can leave users awake for days. Myanmar by far is considered the largest producer of the drug.