"The entry of illicit drugs into Iran increased by 20 to 30 percent during the same period," Mehdi Abouie told IRNA.
The increase in the amount of narcotics brought into the country is due to the 12-15 percent growth in poppy cultivation in neighboring Afghanistan, he said, adding some 4,500 tons of opium were harvested in that country during the said period.
Abouie added that anti-drug squads rounded up 42,500 drug-dealers as well as 97,300 addicts since March 20.
The officer said that the police confiscated 18,978 kg of illicit drugs in the southeastern province of Kerman showing an increase of 250 percent compared to the figure for last year.
Iran lies on the crossroads of major drug trafficking routes originating mainly from Afghanistan.
More than 3,600 members of Iran's armed forces have been killed in cross-border clashes with drug traffickers during 20 years of instability in neighboring Afghanistan, the world's biggest drug producer.
Iran seizes about 80 percent of narcotic drugs worldwide annually. Last year alone, some 200 tons of various kinds of drugs were seized throughout the country.
... Payvand News - 8/19/04 ... --