Yaba dealers using kids as mules
Yaba traders are adopting new techniques every day to bring the pills to the capital.
They are now using mostly homeless children, aged between 10 and 15 years, as drug mules. They pay the children to take the risks.
Around 40 to 50 pills are wrapped in sticky tapes and inserted inside bananas. The children eat those bananas on way to Dhaka from Teknaf and are not allowed to eat anything else.
Once the children reach a safe place in the capital, they are given laxatives.
The Detective Branch of police received this information after arresting three suspected members of a yaba smuggling gang and detaining two child mules in the capital's Mirpur and Babubazar areas on Saturday.
The arrestees are Lokman Hossain, 35, Md Ranju, 31, and Shahida Begum, 62.
Acting on a tip off, the detectives first arrested Lokman with 2,500 pills. Based on information given by him, the detectives detained Jasim, 13, and Shahjahan, 14, from Babubazar.
The police later conducted a drive in Mirpur's Shah Ali area and arrested two other suspects Ranju and Shahida with 1,500 pills.
The detained children were brought to Dhaka in a microbus, Suman Kanti Chowdhury, assistant commissioner of DB, told The Daily Star.
The police took the kids to the central police hospital in Razarbagh where an X-ray found yaba tablets in their stomach. They recovered 1,800 pieces of yaba from Shahjahan's stomach and 2,200 pieces from Jashim's, said the DB official.
Emdadul Haque, superintendent of Razarbagh Police Lines Hospital, said carrying tablets in the stomach in such a way is a serious health hazard for the kids.
During primary interrogation, the kids said the smugglers promised them Tk 15,000 if they could successfully deliver the pills, said AC Suman.
“They also said this was the first time they were bringing yaba in the capital. The smugglers also threatened them to do the job,” he said, adding, they were verifying the kids' statement.
The DB official said Ranju was supposed to deliver the yaba pills to different areas in the capital while Shahida is the owner of the house where the kids were brought for defecation.
“We have information that several syndicates are using children, especially Rohingya children, for the yaba smuggling,” said a high official of DB requesting anonymity.
A case was filed with Shah Ali Police Station against the arrestees. It also accused absconding suspects Sabuj, 28, and Suman, 35.
A Dhaka court placed Lokman and Ranju on a two-day remand yesterday and sent Shahida to jail.
Mashiur Rahman, deputy commissioner (north) of DB police, told The Daily Star yesterday that the smugglers were adopting new techniques as the law enforcers had increased vigilance to stop yaba smuggling.
“We have received some clues regarding the syndicates and their mastermind and are now conducting drives to arrest them,” he added.
Yaba smugglers in recent months have been found carrying the pills inside watermelons, jackfruits, tyres, petrol containers, mobile phones and inside books.