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Burma Says US Trying to Nab Former

Wednesday November 26 2:32 PM EST 
Burma Says US Trying to Nab Former Warlord
By Sutin Wannabovorn 
CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Reuters) - Former Golden Triangle opium warlord Khun Sa 
was reported Wednesday to have moved to a military compound after the Burmese 
government said U.S. officials were trying to nab him. 
Khun Sa, who surrendered to Burmese troops in January 1996, is wanted by the 
United States where he has been indicted on various counts of drug 
Thai narcotics officers and sources close to Khun Sa said Burma's military 
government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), decided to shift 
him from his lakeside villa to protect him from U.S. officials. 
Khun Sa's associates and Thai narcotics officials said he was moved after 
Washington began an investigation into $600 million of laundered money that 
was believed to be circulating in Burmese business areas. 
U.S. officials in Bangkok would not comment and U.S. embassy officials could 
not be reached in Burma's capital, Rangoon. 
One of Khun Sa's aides, speaking to Reuters in this northern Thai city, said: 
"The Burmese claimed that the Americans were trying to snatch him so they 
urged (Khun Sa) to leave the lakeside villa and go to the (military) compound 
near (Rangoon's) airport." 
He quoted Khun Sa's third wife, who returned from a visit to Rangoon, as 
saying the former opium warlord was healthy but had confined himself to the 
military intelligence compound. 
A source in a Thai narcotics agency based in Chiang Mai confirmed the report. 
"We heard that the Burmese relocated him to a safe place after the United 
States started investigating some $600 million laundering money that was 
circulating in Burma," he said. 
The former Burmese government, the State Law and Order Restoration Council 
(SLORC), refused to extradite Khun Sa after his surrender, saying it would 
deal with Khun Sa under Burmese law. 
The SPDC, whose formation earlier this month abolished the SLORC, has given no 
signs of a change in policy. 
Khun Sa is the former commander of the now-defunct Mong Tai Army (MTA). He 
used to command more than 20,000 guerrillas and portrayed himself as a freedom 
fighter but international drug agencies accused him of using the MTA to 
protect his heroin business in the Golden Triangle. 
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says the Golden Triangle, where 
Burma, Laos and Thailand meet, produces about 70 percent of all heroin 
reaching the United States. 
Khun Sa's associate said the Burmese government would allow only family 
members to visit him. 
"He has four living wives, one in Chiang Mai, two in Mai Sai and one lives in 
Burma's (town of) Tachilek. These wives rotate in visiting him," he said. 
Khun Sa has four daughters and five sons, four of whom oversee Khun Sa's 
various businesses in Burma. 
A Thai narcotics official said two of Khun Sa's sons were now cooperating with 
the United Wa State Army (UWSA) in the heroin business. 
The UWSA is a former rebel group that struck a cease-fire with the Burmese 
military in the early 1990s. A former rival to Khun Sa, it has controlled 
opium growing and heroin production in the Golden Triangle since he 
"The UWSA now dominate the drug business in Shan State and has overrun all of 
Khun Sa's bases and his sons are now joining them," the Thai narcotics source 
Narcotics sources estimate that the UWSA operates between 16 to 20 heroin 
factories in Shan State near Thai border. 
"These factories produce not less than 350 kg (770 pounds) (of heroin) per 
month," the source said. 
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