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Police nab 82 in yaba drug bust

June 8, 2023 - 16:40 By Lee Jung-joo
Yaba pills found by the police (Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency)

Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency brought in a total of 82 people for smuggling, selling and taking the drug yaba.

Police also found methamphetamine, cannabis and ecstasy.

Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine that originates in Thailand. All 82 of the suspects are Thai nationals.

Out of 82 suspects, one is accused of smuggling, 33 are accused of distributing, and 48 are accused of purchasing the drug from January last year to May this year around Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province and Jeongeup, Jeolla Province. Of them, 49 were arrested, including the smuggler.

To avoid detection, the smuggler used a fake alien registration certificate and driver’s license. The suspect acquired yaba in Thailand, and ship in the drugs disguised as nutritional supplements to other Thai nationals’ homes in Korea, instead of directly to the smuggler.

A police official involved in the case told The Korea Herald that they were unable to confirm whether the Thai nationals who were sent the package were a part of the drug ring.

Yaba stored in nutritional supplement containers (Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency)

The drugs were distributed to others using the “throw method,” in which illegal drugs are left at a designated location to be picked up by someone else, or delivered in person. The police said that most of the drug ring’s clients were Thai nationals working in the agricultural and livestock industry or were day laborers and that the drugs were sold for 30,000 to 50,000 won ($23 to $38) per pill.

The police have said that they would continue to cooperate with the National Intelligence Service and Interpol to track down the billing addresses and arrest the drug ring’s leader in Thailand.

“We will gather all intelligence data and crackdown on all drug traffickers overseas to prevent the spread of illegal drugs,” said a police official.

An ordinary international mail package used to smuggle yaba (Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency)