Yaba traders keep trying out new ways to transport the craze-inducing pills from Teknaf in Cox's Bazar to other parts of the country.
The latest method involves attaching packets of yaba to trucks or cargo vessels, using magnets, and traders have been on a "test run" to determine its success rate.
The Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police came to know of this "innovative idea" in yaba transportation after seizing a consignment of the pills on Tuesday.
Detectives seized 50,000 yaba pills from Dhaka's Baridhara while they were being carried in packets attached to different covered parts of a truck containing powerful magnets.
Police arrested two drug carriers – Khairul Bashar, 36, and Saizuddin alias Sharif, 22 – and seized the truck.
The "magnetic method"
The DMP's detective officials told The Business Standard that during a primary interrogation, the arrestees admitted that they had obtained yaba pills months ago and aimed to sell them ahead of, or during, New Year's celebrations.
''The truck's driver and helper admitted that they were aware of the innovative idea to transport the drugs safely to Dhaka, but this was a pilot project and for the first time they could manage to enter Dhaka without hassle,'' said Shahidul Islam, the assistant commissioner of DB (North) who led the drive.
Truckers get from Tk3-5 lakh to carry such big consignments. This time they had a contract of Tk5 lakh to transport the yaba consignment using magnets.
The crazy pills' journey began at Teknaf upazila on December 30.
A group of yaba traders wrapped thirteen packets with black scotch tape, each packet containing around 5,000 pills.
"They also covered each packet with 10-12 pieces of small powerful magnets," Shahidul added.
The drug traders collected the powerful small magnets from a local market and carried out experiments with them throughout the night in Teknaf.
Later they attached the packets to the underside of the truck and the upper section of the engine.
They also attached four packets of yaba just under the driver's seat.
"They started the journey on December 31, at Teknaf, and were caught just before delivering the consignment to dealers in the capital," Shahidul added.
Officials say it is very tough to find the pills when they are transported using magnets.
"Usually, we do not suspect goods-laden trucks or inspect the undercarriage of a truck, and so they were trying to take advantage of it," DB officials added.
After receiving a tip-off, detectives came to know that a gang of yaba traders was heading towards Kuril area, through Pragati Sarani, in a truck with a consignment of the pills.
They intercepted the truck in the Baridhara area around 11:30pm on Tuesday.
After a thorough search, detectives found 13 packets containing yaba pills covertly concealed in different parts of the truck.
"The drug dealers used powerful magnets to keep each packet attached to the body of the truck," Deputy Commissioner (North) of DB Mashiur Rahman told The Business Standard.
Yaba pills are a light orange in colour, the price of each tablet being around Tk300 in Dhaka, he added.
Nihad Adnan Taian, additional superintendent of police of Teknaf circle, told The Business Standard that drug traders apply a lot of techniques to evade the law enforcers.
"I came across this kind of technique of carrying yaba from Teknaf to Dhaka for the first time in November last year. Two cases have been filed over such incidents in Teknaf. The drug dealers are very innovative nowadays," he added.
Pradip Kumar Das, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, said he had no idea about such methods of drug transportation.
"How cunning they are," exclaimed a surprised Pradip.
Prior methods of trafficking the drugs have involved drug mules swallowing small packs of yaba with sticky food items, traffickers transporting the drugs by airways, and traffickers concealing pill packs – in fruits, vehicles' fuel tanks, or cell phones – and then carrying the drugs to dodge law enforcement.
Mashiur said drug dealers have been collecting yaba from Teknaf, the gateway for smuggling the drug into Bangladesh, and supplying it in the capital and different parts of the country.
Following the seizure, a case was filed under the Narcotics Control Act with Gulshan Police Station.
A Dhaka court placed the truck's driver and helper on two days' remand.