It goes by various names: yaba, ice, crystal, speed. The name may sound cool, what the yaba drug does in anything but cool.
The about Rs 24 crore worth of drugs seized on February 24 in Manipur's Pallel was meant for making yaba pills with indications that the haul may be just the tip of the iceberg, if one goes by the latest report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) 2012 released on Tuesday.
Large-scale smuggling of such drugs from India to Myanmar and Bangladesh has been an open secret in the recent times with the smugglers ranging from the men in uniform to insurgent groups and other influential individuals in this militancy-prone stretch.
In the Manipur incident, an army PRO Colonel Ajay Chaudhury and five others were arrested when they were on their way to the border town of Moreh allegedly transporting the illicit drugs in three vehicles ostensibly for further processing at the small clandestine factories along the border in Myanmar.
The seized drugs largely comprised of anti-cold strips of Actidin, Respifed, Omkop, Hilcold and Polyfed, which contain the chemicals ephedrine and pseudoephidrine.
These chemicals are easily extracted and mixed with other ingredients like salt, household cleaning products, and lithium from batteries to produce 'yaba' tablets.
First used by Nazis to induce sleeplessness among the soldiers, this pill is getting increasingly popular worldwide but particularly in South and East Asia with the point of origin being Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.