CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (Reuters) - A Bangladeshi court on Monday sent a female cricketer to two-days’ police custody after she was arrested with 14,000 pills of popular drug ya ba, as methamphetamine is widely known in Asia, a senior police officer said.
Consumption of ya ba is booming in Bangladesh, with seizures alone jumping more than 2,500 percent to 29.4 million pills in 2016 compared with 2011. Government officials say the business is worth an estimated $3 billion annually.
Following a tip-off, police arrested Najrin Khan Mukta, 23, in the southeastern city of Chittagong with the ya ba tablets in her backpack as she was leaving for the capital Dhaka on Sunday.
“The metropolitan magistrate court granted two days’ remand following an appeal for five days’ remand by police,” said Nirmolendu Bikash Chowdhury, an assistant commissioner of police.
Nur Mohammad, lawyer for Mukta, said they will seek bail.
Police said Mukta, a student of a state-run university who plays in the Dhaka Premier League, admitted that she sourced the ya ba from the nearby district of Cox’s Bazar to sell it in Dhaka in association with some others.
Cox’s Bazar is a coastal district neighbouring Myanmar, factories in the northeastern part of which, according to analysts, are pushing ya ba towards Bangladesh.
Narcotics officials say a ya ba pill can be bought for around 60 taka ($0.714) in Cox’s Bazar but retails for around 300 taka in Dhaka.
($1 = 84.1 taka)
Reporting By Nazimuddin Shyamol from Chittagong; Editing by Krishna N. Das and Amlan Chakraborty