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From MIZZIMA News Group (r)

Ephedrine hydrochloride smuggled across Indo-Burma border

12th February 1999

	The Indo-Burma border, which was for some years used as a route of
heroin smuggling from Burma to outside world, is changed to a route of
Ephedrine hydrochloride smuggling. The Ephedrine is used in making
Amphetamine tablets, a drug being used as a substitute of heroin for many
drug addicts. According to some local sources, some merchants in
Indo-Burma border trade have turned into this tablet trade which profits

The Free Press, a local newspaper in Manipur State of India, reported on
10th February that Amphetamine tablets worth Rs. 23,40,000 (US $ 55,714)
were seized from a local merchant at Moreh which is a border township of
Burma. The tablets were reportedly meant for illegal export to Burma
through Moreh-Tamu border trade route. Customs officials in Manipur told
that this is the first official seizure of tablets even though the tablet
trade has been going on for quite some time. The newspaper quoted Mr C.
Songate, Assistant Commissioner, Customs in Imphal (Capital of Manipur
State) saying that total 471,212 kg of Ephedrine hydrochloride worth Rs.
60,45,996 (US $ 14,3952) were seized from June 16 last year to January 8
this year. The drugs and tablets are smuggled out of India via Burma and
then Thailand. 

In Manipur State of India, many drug addicts have become tablet users due
to cheaper, easier and less risk availability of the tablets. In the first
week of January, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), an armed insurgent
group in North East India issued a warning to the drug users and drug
traders to stop this unholy trade and practice. Over thirty thousands are
officially registered as drug users in Manipur State. The Ephedrine
hydrochloride is a licensed item in mainland India but it is not allowed
to trade in North East India.

Local merchants in Manipur State estimate that at least 200 kg of
Ephedrine is being smuggled from India into Burma everyday.