TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A local police commander said on Thursday morning that his forces have discovered and seized over one ton of narcotic drugs in two days in the country’s province of South Khorasan, which has a long border with Afghanistan to its east.
“Provincial police forces seized more than a ton of different types of narcotic drugs in seven operations during in two days,” said General Khalil Vaezi, the commander of South Khorassan province police force in a press conference.
He said that in the first operation 75 kilograms of opium, in the second one 65 kilograms of morphine, in the third 183 kilograms of opium, in the 4th operation 203 kilograms of opium, in the 5th one 700 kilograms of morphine, in the sixth one 50 Kg of opium, and in the last operation three kilograms of crack were seized from traffickers.
General Vaezi said that 765 kilograms of the seized narcotics was morphine and the remaining 528 kilograms was opium, adding that 20 of the drug traffickers have also been arrested in those operations.
In recent decades Iran has been hit by drug trafficking, mainly because of its 936- kilometers of shared borders with Afghanistan, which supplies over 90% of the world’s opium, the raw ingredient of heroin.
The United Nations has estimated in the past that opium trafficking accounts for up 15 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, but the figure is expected to rise as international military and development spending declines with the NATO withdrawal at the end of 2014.
Iran is on a major transit route for drugs being smuggled from Afghanistan to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the country’s war on drug-traffickers has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police forces over the past 34 years.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Iran is netting eight times more opium and three times more heroin than all other countries in the world combined.
And to the despair of those fighting the menace of drug smuggling, the latest UN report shows that for the first time over 200,000 hectares of Afghan fields were growing poppies in 2013.
The report said the total area planted with poppies rose from 154,000 to 209,000 hectares, while potential production rose by 49% to 5,500 tons, more than the current global demand. But production was lower than the 2007 high of 7,400 tons as bad weather in southern Afghanistan affected crops.
Poppy cultivation and opium production in Afghanistan have been on the rise since the US-led occupation of 2001.
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