VIENTIANE, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Police of Laos' central Bolikhamxay province have arrested five men and confiscated cannabis bricks weighing more than 1.2 tons as well as two motorboats, local media reported on Monday.
Upon a tip-off by villagers, the police arrested five local men while they were transporting over 1.2 tons of cannabis that was to be smuggled out of the country by boat, the state-run Vientiane Times quoted sources as saying.
The detainees told police they had traded cannabis on two previous occasions and had received payment from foreign buyers.
The year of 2016 saw police nationwide crack down on drug trafficking in a determined attempt to stamp out the growing trade.
Last year, the Lao police busted 2,508 drug-related cases, and arrested 3,740 people including 558 women, according to the Drug Prevention and Control Department of Lao Ministry of Public Security. Among those arrested, there were 74 foreigners.
More than 1,869 kg of amphetamine, 188 kg of heroin, 425 kg of cannabis and 144 kg of crystal methamphetamine were seized.
The National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision said Laos has again become a significant producer of opium, while drug use, in particular the use of amphetamine-type substances (ATS) known as yabaa, appears to be on the rise.