He left his job at a pharmaceutical company in the capital's Mirpur area one and a half months ago to set up a yaba factory himself.
A chemist and a graduate in chemistry, Jasim Uddin wanted to be rich overnight. But he ended up in jail, as he along with his four accomplices was arrested on Wednesday, detectives said.
The four others are -- Syed Tarikul Islam Sumon, 27, a former colleague of Jasim; Ali Akbar, 28; Zubayer Hossain Jewel, 28; Kirti Azad alias Tutul, 37.
The 32-year-old man from Comilla's Laksham had collected equipment necessary to produce the contraband pills, detectives said, adding that Kirti Azad rented a flat at Mirpur-2 to set up a factory there.
Tipped off, a team of Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police raided the flat at night and arrested them along with 500 pieces of yaba tablets, and seized yaba-manufacturing equipment and chemicals, said Abdul Baten, joint commissioner (DB) of DMP.
Briefing reporters at the DMP media centre yesterday, the police official said the arrested people had a target to produce 50,000 pieces of yaba tablets per hour.
“But the factory was busted before it could go into production. It was a major attempt to produce yaba in the city,” he said.
Though the contraband pills are smuggled into the country from Myanmar through Teknaf border, drug traders tried several times to set up factories in the capital.
In August 2014, detectives arrested four alleged yaba traders who tried to bring in equipment to set up a factory in the capital's Banasree area. In October 2007, Rab arrested Amin Huda, known as one of the top drug barons in Bangladesh, and busted his factory in Gulshan.
A DB official preferring anonymity told The Daily Star that Jasim, who completed masters in chemistry from a private university in Chittagong, made the whole plan six to seven months ago.
He convinced his trusted former colleague Sumon who managed the three others, said the official.
Jasim collected one of the machines for Tk 3 lakh from a pharmaceutical company in Comilla where he worked until he got a job in Dhaka eight years ago, the official added.
Police said the value of the equipment seized from the flat is worth Tk 10 lakh. The money was given by a businessman whom the police are now looking for. The equipment was made in China but assembled in Bangladesh.
Police, however, did not reveal the identity of the businessman.
The seized equipment would be sent to a laboratory for chemical tests, police said.
“They had a plan to sell the pills at lower than street price, as they wanted to manufacture the tablets in the country instead of bringing those in from Myanmar facing difficulties,” a police official who interrogated them told The Daily Star.
DB officials said except Jasim, the four others were unemployed.
A case was filed with Mirpur Police Station under the Narcotics Control Act yesterday.
A Dhaka court yesterday granted a three-day police remand for Jasim, a two-day for Sumon and a one-day remand each for three others.