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NDAA and UWSA deny involvement in Mekong incident

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Hoping to end current speculation over possible involvement in the 5 Oct. incident on the Mekong River that led to the discovery of 12 deaths and the seizure of 920,000 yaba (methamphetamine) pills on two Chinese cargo ships, Mongla NDAA official Sao Hseng La adamantly denied any connection between his organization and both the murders of the crew and drug trafficking discovered Tuesday. An anonymous official with the United Wa State Army (UWSA) also denied any involvement in the incident.

The 12 bodies of ship crew members were discovered after a shootout on the river between hijackers and Thai authorities. The crew members had been blindfolded, had their hands tied behind their back, and were either shot or had slit throats. Details have yet to emerge about the characteristic markings of the drugs seized on board. The estimated street value (in Tachilek) of the pills seized is Baht 46 million ($ 1.5 million).

Signature markings are often imprinted upon yaba pills, indicating specific regions or organizations of origin. One known marking is the “WY” imprint often associated with the production of yaba by UWSA related manufacturers.

Yaba with UWSA related origins has also been identified as hard in consistency, high in quality, and having a distinct smell. However, imitations of the “WY” imprints have also been noted, as other manufacturers have hoped to pass off their inferior product as the UWSA’s.

The October 5th incident’s mysterious circumstances have led China to temporarily suspend any ships from normal business on the Mekong and caused much speculation over who is to blame for the drugs on board and subsequent murders. Sao Hseng La believes that China has had no doubt that the NDAA was not involved in the event.

“Of course, I cannot speak for other groups,” he said. “But I can assure you that the NDAA has nothing to do with the affair.”

The NDAA has long received aid from China in the interest of eliminating drugs in areas under their control, including the support of police resources since 1997. The UWSA has also cooperated with China to help combat drug production. Their current partnership began in 2005 when the UWSA controlled areas were officially declared drug free.  China also provided the UWSAwith 100 tons of rice on 26th June 2011.

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