The massive supply of cheap meth, which has kept prices low, “contributes to increasing demand and use in the region,” 报告说.
The UNODC found that several large-scale meth manufacturers appeared to have set up shop in Cambodia in addition to Myanmar’s Shan State — an area governed by militias and warlords that have long been accused of funding themselves through the drug trade. Authorities in Cambodia dismantled five synthetic labs in 2020, four of which produced meth. It was the first time clandestine meth labs were found in Cambodia since 2014.
Traffickers also appeared to be using new routes to move illicit narcotics and the precursor chemicals used to make them. Laos appeared to be one focal point, as seizures of both meth and precursor chemicals spiked. Hong Kong was increasingly used as a transportation hub, 根据报告. Meth seizures in the semi autonomous Chinese city increased tenfold from 2019 至 2020, including one 500-kilogram shipment sent from Mexico that was destined for Australia.
“Organized crime groups have been able to continue the expansion of the regional synthetic drug trade — in particular in the upper Mekong and Shan state of Myanmar — by maintaining a steady supply of chemicals into production areas despite border restrictions that have impacted legitimate cross-border trade,” Douglas said.
Things do not appear to be getting better in
2021. Traffickers seem to be taking advantage of the months of political instability and violence in Myanmar
, where the armed forces ousted the country’s democratically elected government in a February coup
Douglas and other experts worry drug traffickers could take advantage of the unstable situation in Myanmar.
“When economies break down illicit economies typically ascend and become more powerful — it is exactly this scenario that we fear and anticipate now,” 他说.
“Criminals look for conditions that they can use, and the distraction of law enforcement and breakdown of security that we are witnessing provide them with the right environment — they thrive on the chaos that legitimate businesses run from.”