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Southeast Asian Drug King Dies in Burma


Former drug trafficker and guerrilla leader Khun Sa has died in Burma, according to associates.

Sources say Khun Sa, 74, died in Rangoon earlier this week, and that his body was cremated Tuesday. He was believed to be suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.

Khun Sa portrayed himself as a resistance fighter for the ethnic Shan minority as the leader of the Shan United Army, and later the Mong Tai Army.

His role overseeing the drug trade in the area where Burma, Thailand and Laos meet, known as the golden triangle, helped earn him the nickname the "Prince of Death."

U.S. narcotics officials estimate that in the 1980s, Khun Sa was responsible for at least half the heroin coming out of the region.

The United States offered a $2 million reward for his arrest.

After years of fighting the Burmese military government, Khun Sa surrendered in 1996 and was allowed to live in Rangoon.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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