Last week Khun Sa died. It didn't get that much exposure in the press, but when I first came to Thailand he was an important figure in the north and rumour had it he sometimes stayed in his own house in Bangkok.
Khun Sa was a drug warlord long before we had heard of the Colombian cocaine gangsters. He controlled a large part of Burmese Shan States which tend to be lumped in with the Golden Triangle. Although the Thai army did force him out of his northern Thai base of Ban Hin Taek he did fight them to a standstill. The US DEA and embassy staff in Thailand were in fear of their lives from him.
He was finally defeated by his own people who actually believed in the independence movement lie he hid behind. So where would a pariah like this go when he was on the run? To the generals in Burma of course. They welcomed him with open arms and allowed him to run various businesses from Rangoon.
By the way, opium farming was introduced to this area by the French who needed a source as the UK controlled Indian production and the US could source from Turkey. How else could you trade with China without getting them hooked on opium? Not the West's finest hour.