A syndicate is bringing yaba pills from Teknaf to Dhaka through a new route after the contraband tablets are smuggled from Myanmar, police have found.
From Teknaf, the pills first reach Patuakhali's Kuakata in fishing boats and then make their way to the capital via Barisal in cars, buses or trucks.
Although such consignments take three to four days alone to arrive at Kuakata from Teknaf through the sea, the syndicate members prefer the new route. It's because they believe it is less risky than the regular route -- Teknaf-Chittagong-Dhaka -- where law enforcers carry out frequent raids to recover yaba tablets.
And as the risk is low, those who carry the pills on the new route also need to be paid less than those on the other, bringing more profit to the syndicate members.
The information came to light after DMP's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit had arrested two “members” of the syndicate in Motijheel area on Monday night.
CTTC members also claimed to have recovered 2 lakh yaba pills worth Tk 4 crore from their possession and seized a car.
The two -- Masud Talukder, 44, and Jamil Hossein, 38 -- are now on three-day demand.
On the new route, a CTTC official said, “Since yaba tablets usually don't come to the capital from the southern districts, law enforcers hardly search for them in vehicles coming from the districts.
“The syndicate members seem to be taking the advantage,” the official said.
Quoting the two arrestees, a CTTC investigator, wishing anonymity, said those who carry yaba on the new route get Tk 2 for each tablet in comparison to Tk 5 on the regular route.
According to the arrestees, the official said, the syndicate already brought 10 lakh yaba pills through the route in the last one month.
The syndicate, based in Geneva Camp of Dhaka's Mohammadpur and having around 50 members, is led by one Farhana Akther Papia, 26, and her husband Joynal Abedin alias Pachu alias Joy, 33. To many, the couple is notorious for their involvement in illegal drug trade, said the official.
The Daily Star could not independently verify this claim.
Talking about the yaba seizure, CTTC officials said two members of the syndicate -- Shafik, 34, and Monir alias Badsha, 35, -- bought the pills, each for Tk 80, from yaba traders in Cox's Bazar. Later, they loaded them onto a fishing trawler in Teknaf. The syndicate has 20 to 25 such trawlers.
Three days later, the boat reached Kuakata. The fishermen, who carried the pills, got Tk 1 for each tablet, said a top CTTC official, quoting the arrestees.
Later, the fishermen handed over the pills to the “next carriers” who brought the pills to Dhaka by different modes of transport, including a car and a bus. The carriers too got Tk 1 for each yaba pill.
Once the tablets reached the Geneva camp, the syndicate members sold each at Tk 120 to 140 as wholesale price.
According to law enforcers, the couple -- Papia and Pachu -- controls a drug syndicate in Mohammadpur, Lalmatia, Adabar, Shyamoli and Mirpur areas.
Mukul Jyoti Chakma, deputy director of the Department of Narcotics Control, said the husband and the wife are wanted in a number of cases. Although they were arrested on several occasions in the past, they got released on bail, he said.
Daughter of Abu Hanif of Aziz Mahalla in Mohammadpur, Papia married her lover Pachu when she was a class-XII student. Later, they got involved in the trade and established their strong grip on it, said police sources.
Rahmatullah Chowdhury, additional deputy commissioner of the CTTC unit, said, “We have information about the syndicate involving Pachu. The couple is on the run but we are conducting drives to arrest them.”
He said the syndicate changed its route as law enforcers increased their vigilance on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
“We are now keeping an eye on the new route to catch the smugglers,” he added.