Putao police have reportedly released several drug dealers from jails after receiving bribes in the remote town in northern Kachin State, following an increase of illegal drugs since the military coup more than two years ago.
“The police arrested drug traffickers from Myoma and Lon Suit wards four times…They later released these people. I heard that one drug trafficker paid $240 bribe for his release and continues to sell illegal drugs,” a man from Lon Suit ward told KNG on condition of anonymity.
Locals report that dealers selling methamphetamine and heroin in Lon Suit, Myoma and Lay Yin Kwin wards were all freed after paying money to the police.
Last year, police arrested two dealers in Lon Suit, one from Myoma and another in Lay Yin Kwin. In 2023, dealers were picked up in Lon Suit and Myoma. They were all released and continue peddle their drugs to locals, including many teenagers.
“I do not know if it is lower level police officers who are doing this (taking bribes) or if it is district level police officers,” said another man who requested anonymity. This year, the dealers were released after paying almost $500 each, he said, explaining that officers often visit their houses to demand bribes.
According to locals, authorities restrict the movement of food and other goods from Myitkyina and other areas to Putao, but allow drugs to pass through checkpoints.