THON MIN YAR, Myanmar - Deep in the lawless mountains of the Golden Triangle, sloping fields of illegal poppies have just been scraped dry for opium. This is the peak season for producing drugs here, and in Myanmar's nascent era of democratic change, the haul has only gotten bigger.
In this Feb 19, 2013 photo, an ethnic Pa-O poppy farmer holds a harvested poppy stem with dried-up opium sap in a poppy cultivation in central Shan state, Myanmar. Far from Myanmar's postcard-perfect pagodas and colonial relics, the remote mountain villages of southern Shan State do not appear on maps of Myanmar or in any guide books. In obscurity, they have been ground zero for Myanmar's drug trade which has thrived on poverty and corruption. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Opium, its derivative heroin and methamphetamines are surging across Myanmar's borders in quantities that the United Nations and police in neighbouring countries say are the highest levels in years.
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