A Buddhist monk in Myanmar gets caught with 4 million methamphetamine pills.
Bags of methamphetamine pills are seen during the 42nd Destruction of Confiscated Narcotics ceremony in Ayutthaya province, nearly 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok on June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

A Buddhist monk from Maungdaw, Myanmar, was in custody after police discovered more than 4 million methamphetamine pills in his monastery Sunday, according to reports. The monk, whom police reports only named as Arsara, was driving from Myanmar village Shwe Baho in Rakhine state along the Bangladesh border when authorities pulled him over and found 400,000 pills in his vehicle.

Local police Chief Kyaw Mya Win told Agence France-Presse that authorities found another 4.2 million pills in Arsara's monastery following his arrest. It is unclear why the monk had so many methamphetamine pills in his possession.

Myanmar is a leading producer of opioids like methamphetamines, which is often referred to as meth or crystal, and other highly stimulating narcotics including opium and cannabis. In Asia particularly, methamphetamine tablets are wildly popular. In 2016, police seized a whopping 98 million meth tablets across the continent, according to The Guardian, after confiscating another 50 million pills in 2015.

Drug prosecutions have also increased throughout Asia with police reports indicating a nearly 50-percent spike in arrests and prosecutions for possession of meth pills since 2015. In Rakhine state, which is mostly populated by impoverished Muslim Rohingya groups, drug trafficking has been on the rise. Just in September, local media reported two men were facing charges after police found more than 6.2 million methamphetamine tablets in their car in Maungdaw.

In the U.S., which is currently facing an opioid and heroin epidemic, more than half of inmates serving sentences in federal prison were linked to the trafficking of methamphetamine, which can be prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other conditions. A United States Sentencing Commission report said meth was responsible for more offenses than any other drug in 27 states, with most of the trafficking charges occurring in the West, Midwest and the South.

Drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., claiming 52,404 lives in 2015, according to a 2016 American Society of Addiction Medicine report. Of those overdoses, 20,101 deaths were related to prescription pain relievers.