New Drug Being Imported To Sacramento Area
By Yahoo News – Thursday September 5 2002
Copyright: Yahoo News
A recent drug bust is showing that a more potent form of methamphetamine is being imported almost exclusively into the Sacramento area.
More than a dozen people have been arrested as part of an international operation to import a new drug known as Ya-Ba.
Thirteen Loatian men and women were paraded into a federal courtroom Monday. What makes their appearance so concerning is that they were among the first allegedly caught importing a new, rising drug aimed at children, according to authorities.
Ya-Ba is a potent and flavorful smelling form of methamphetamine. According to authorities, the chewable tablet is exploding in popularity in Southeast Asia. Drug enforcers in Thailand estimate that the tablets are being produced in the hundreds of millions each year.
Federal officials are concerned that nearly 90 percent of all Ya-Ba imports are targeted for Sacramento. It is sometimes smuggled in the insides of dead bugs.
“For some reason, it’s primarily the Sacramento area as opposed to other parts of the country,” said U.S. attorney Anne Pings.
The 13 Sacramento and Lodi residents were charged with conspiring to import the new, often grape-flavored drug to Sacramento.
Cheng Saechau said that his father, Laung Saechau, is innocent. But he admitted to KCRA-TV that the people his father hung out with might be guilty.
“The people he hangs out with get him in trouble. They show up, say they need his help. He had no idea until his house was raided,” Saechau said.
Local drug agents said that the drug has not yet hit the mainstream drug scene in Sacramento, but that it has been seen at some rave parties. They said that it is becoming popular within the Loatian community, especially at suspected illegal gambling houses.
In the last two years, customs officials say that they’ve seized between $300,000 and $900,000 worth of the drug.
If convicted, all but three of the defendants could face from 10 years to life in prison.