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Buddhist monk arrested in Myanmar after 4 million methamphetamine pills found in Monastery

For those of a “certain age” a country named Myanmar may not mean an awful lot, but remind them that it is also known as Burma and the expression of bewilderment on their faces changes to immediate recognition.

For any people that have travelled or worked in the Far East, particularly India, and during their time there, they will have learned that Buddhism goes beyond religion, and the teachings are summed up to lead a moral life, to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and to develop wisdom and understanding. Knowing this it will have been a shock to hear that a Buddhist monk has been arrested in Myanmar after authorities found more than 4 million methamphetamine pills stashed in his car and at his monastery.

When an ordained Monk of the Buddha religion is arrested for being in possession of a huge quantity of illegal items, it is certain to be a huge disappointment to many followers. The monk in question was stopped on Sunday as he drove in northern Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh. We understand from Police Officer Maung Maung Yin that the authorities had been tipped off that the monk was carrying an illegal haul. We imagine the size of the haul could well have been a big surprise to the authorities. They found 400,000 pills in the monk’s car and in a subsequent search of his monastery, a further4.2 million pills were found with a street value of $4 million. Along with the haul of drugs, police also found a grenade and ammunition. In a statement issued by the office of Myanmar’s leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, said that one million kyats ($769) in cash was also found in the monk’s car!

When questioned what would happen to the monk, the police spokesman said: “This is not a normal case, and when we were informed that the monk was arrested, we were all shocked.” He went on to add that it was not a very common case, but not impossible to happen. What will happen to the monk is that he will have to give up his monkhood right away and face trial as an ordinary person.

For the uninitiated methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system and it is highly addictive, other names for the drug include chalk, crank, crystal, ice, meth, and speed. Myanmar is a major producer of methamphetamine, usually smuggled from the northeast to neighbouring countries. It is also the world’s second biggest producer of opium, from which heroin is derived.  Last year, Myanmar officials seized 21 million methamphetamine pills with a street value around $35.5 million near the border with China in the biggest such seizure in recent memory.

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