BSF’s new headache at Bangladesh border: Smuggling of Yaba tablets

Quantity of Yaba tablets seized by the BSF has shot up by 5157% in the last 6 years, show data.

New Delhi  | Updated: 28 December, 2022 3:30 pm IST
Yaba tablets are also known as 'biker's coffee'

India’s border guarding forces are up against a new enemy in its war against the smuggling of narcotics along the Bangladesh border: ‘Yaba’ or “bikers’ coffee” — a synthetic drug supplied largely from Myanmar to other South Asian countries.

Largely available in pink and reddish colours, Yaba tablets contain a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine. The consumer could not sleep for hours and feel energised. It is popular among the youth in northeastern states and Bangladesh and is widely consumed at rave and techno parties.

In recent years, smugglers have pushed a huge quantity of Yaba tablets to northeastern states like Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, West Bengal, and Tripura through the porous India-Bangladesh border. The Border Security Force (BSF) has detected more than 5.7 lakh tablets along the Bangladesh border this year alone.

According to an analysis carried out by The New Indian, the quantity of Yaba tablets detected and seized by the BSF has been on a rapid rise since 2017. This quantity has shot up by a whopping 5157 per cent in the last six years.

According to the BSF, a total of 5,78,698 Yaba tablets were seized from the borders of Guwahati, Meghalaya, Mizoram, North and South Bengal and Tripura till November 30 this year.

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Back in 2017, BSF troops recovered only 11,008 Yaba tablets from smugglers along the Bangladesh border.

“Yaba has a huge demand in Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India. With the number of huge seizures, we understand that BSF has also increased its operation to curtail the smuggling of such drugs into India,” an officer told The New Indian.

On Tuesday, the force in coordination with the local customs department arrested a person with 17,000 Yaba tablets valued at around ₹1.7 crores (₹1000 per tablet) from the Meghalaya-Assam Highway near the Bangladesh border.

Experts say the transportation of Yaba tablets is not very difficult since thousands of tablets can be carried in a small bag. The drug seized on Tuesday was kept in 89 small packets and was being transported in an Alto car.

As per the government data, BSF seized 2,39,618 Yaba tablets in 2018 and 7,22,771 tablets in 2019. In 2020, the figure came down to 6,84,151 but shot up again in 2021 when the BSF seized 7,35,217 tablets and detained 46 people from the India-Bangladesh border.

In 2022, BSF troops seized 43,455 Yaba tablets from Guwahati, 11,435 from Meghalaya, 3,81,608 from Mizoram and Cachar, 23,878 from North Bengal, 10,344 from South Bengal and 1,07,978 from Tripura.

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