Record amount of illegal drugs seized in Tajikistan

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Moscow, Jan 31 (UNI) A record amount of illegal drugs since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been seized in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan, a source in the Tajik law enforcement agencies said today.

''An operation was conducted to break up an organized crime ring.

The drugs are raw opium and heroin,'' the source told Interfax news agency.

The source said that 517 kilograms of illegal drugs and a number of people involved in drug-trafficking, including several border guards of the National Security State Committee (NSSC), were detained by NSSC officers.

In 2007, Tajikistan law enforcement agencies seized 5.27 tonnes of illegal drugs, some 10 per cent more compared to 2006. This included 4.1 tonnes of opium and heroin.

Tajikistan remains one of the main transit routes for Afghan opium intended for Russia and Western European countries through the 1,344 kilometre long Tajik-Afghan border.

According to the United Nations, 19 per cent of Afghan opium is shipped via Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, but the bulk of the drugs is shipped via Iran and Pakistan.

UNI XC ARB ND1755

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