Myanmar reports largest heroin seizure of year

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A Myanmar drug squad seized more than 140 kilograms (300 pounds) of heroin in a town near the Thai border in the country's largest confiscation this year, state media reported Thursday.

The state-owned Kyemone newspaper reported that the anti-drug squad seized 404 heroin blocks worth $2.3 million from a car and arrested two suspects in the Shan state border town of Tachileik.

In addition to the 141.4 kilograms (311 pounds) of heroin, officers also found assault rifles, ammunition, hand grenades and 31,000 Thai baht ($970) in the vehicle, which was traveling from a Shan village to the Thai border.

The newspaper said both the driver and passenger will face drug charges.

Myanmar is the world's second-largest producer of opium, the main ingredient of heroin, after Afghanistan, accounting for about 25 percent of global poppy production.

According to an opium poppy survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar increased from 43,600 hectares (107,700 acres) in 2010-2011 to 57,800 hectares (142,800 acres) in 2012-2013.

In 1999, Myanmar declared that it would be opium poppy-free by the year 2014, but the deadline has been extended by five years as the impoverished nation struggles to stem its narcotics problem.