Chittagong, Bangladesh, April 22, 2018 (AFP) – One of Bangladesh’s top female cricketers could be jailed for life after being caught with 14,000 methamphetamine pills, police said Sunday.
Nazreen Khan Mukta, who plays first-grade cricket in the Dhaka Premier League, was returning from a match in the southeastern city of Cox’s Bazar when police stopped and searched the team bus at Chittagong.
“During our search, we caught her with 14,000 yaba pills she had kept in packets,” local police chief Pronob Chowdhury told AFP, using the local name for tablets of methamphetamine mixed with caffeine.
Chowdhury said the Ansar VDP star would be charged with drug trafficking, an offence that can carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Cox’s Bazar borders Myanmar’s conflict-plagued Rakhine state, where authorities say methamphetamine labs produce tens of millions of yaba pills that are shipped to Bangladesh.
Officials this month said drug traffickers had been more active since August, when nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar began pouring into Bangladesh.
Gangs have been using the Rohingya refugees as mules and hiding drugs in fishing boats used for ferrying the persecuted Muslims to safety.
Authorities said last month that nine million yaba pills were seized in less than three months as the refugee influx reached its peak. Nearly two million were discovered in a single haul.
Dhaka has been planning to introduce the death penalty for yaba trafficking to try to curb the drug’s popularity and use.
Bangladesh in 2017 seized more than 40 million pills, double the previous year’s haul.