Another in-on drug commander goes to the pen

A light infantry battalion commander whose unit is based on the notorious Gold Triangle has been locked up following seizure of 7 tons of “Ice” (crystal methamphetamine) on 3 October, according to sources.

17 other officers and other ranks from LID 571, based in Ta Lerh (Talay), 48km north of Tachilek, are reportedly under custody.

3 men were arrested and their two pick-ups carrying the said consignment confiscated by the Ta Lerh police while on their way from Mong Lane to Tachilek. The 3 were Sai Noi, Sai Hsu and Sai Hawng.

Naw Kham (center) and three of his accomplices, unseen, taken to the execution chambers where they received lethal injection in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, Friday, March 1, 2013. (Photo: Xinhua/AP)

As Sai Noi is a nephew of the local People’s Militia Force (PMF) chief Ja Law Bo, he was summoned by the authorities for questioning, but later released after a pledge was signed he would be available for further questioning, according to a source close to the military.
“This is the second time military officers have been taken action for their involvement in drug trafficking,” she said.

The first time took place in Tachilek, when a colonel was arrested, following a shoot-out on 28 February when Infantry Battalion # 331 commander Lt-Col Zeya Win was killed. The incident came in the wake of a major haul of methamphetamine pills at Nawng Hsarm Pu, Mong Phong, where the late “Godfather” Naw Kham, who was executed in Kunming on 1 March, used to roam.

Contrary to Beijing’s claim that “request occurrence of drug-related crimes on the Mekong River has been effectively contained” both locals and drug enforcement officers have stated otherwise. “In fact, the situation has become worse since Naw Kham’s arrest (on 24 April 2012),” said a high official whom SHAN met in Naypyitaw in June. And Naw Kham was but a small link in the drug chain.”

The military, in the meanwhile, has been conducting its legal proceedings quietly. According to Article 319 of the 2008 constitution, legal cases that involve defense services personnel are administered independently by courts-martial. Civilian courts have no jurisdiction over them.


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