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Burma's Khun Sa Reportedly Surrenders, U.S. Offers Reward


February 1996

Khun Sa, the leader of the largest opium producing organization in the Golden Triangle, has reportedly surrendered to Burmese police, and U.S. officials announced a $2 million award for information leading to his arrest and conviction in the U.S. (Chronicle News Service, "U.S. Offers Big Reward for Drug Warlord," San Francisco Chronicle, January 5, 1996, p. E-3; Philip Sherwell, "Golden Triangle Will Survive Khun Sa," Washington Times, January 13, 1996, p. A6; Philip Shenon, "Burmese Heroin Trafficker Surrenders, but Is Negotiating His Future With the Junta," New York Times, January 18, 1996, p. A6).

Former colleagues of Khun Sa say he is now living in a jungle retreat under the supervision of Burmese police. They say he may have surrendered partly to escape facing charges in the U.S. In 1989, he was charged in New York for trying to import 1,000 tons of heroin to the U.S. Burmese officials have refused to extradite Khun Sa to the U.S. (Reuter, "Burma Refuses to Extradite Drug Chieftain," Washington Post, January 15, 1996, p. A22).

The Golden Triangle includes Burma and parts of Thailand, Laos, and China. 60 percent of the heroin consumed in the United States comes from Burma, U.S. officials say.

Khun Sa has been the leader of an insurgent army, the Shan United Army, in eastern Burma for more than 20 years. Several times since the 1970s, Khun Sa has proposed that the United States buy his entire production of opium to remove it from criminal channels.