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Iranian police official says 218.5 tons of narcotics seized since March 2005

Tehran, Jan 1, IRNA-Head of Police Anti-Drug Headquarters said in Tehran on Saturday that over 218.5 tons of narcotics have been seized in the past three quarters of the current Iranian year (started March 21).

Brigadier General Mehdi Abouei told reporters that the figure is five percent higher compared to the same period last year.

He said in the same period given the 20 percent reduction in the amount of drug coming into the country and five percent increase in the volume of seizure, there was 25 percent of drop in overall drug smuggling compared to the same period last year.

However, he added that 4,350 kg of heroin seizures this year shows 16 percent rise compared to the same period last year.

"Also, with 4.9 tons of morphine seized, we experienced 48 percent drop in morphine seizures."

In the period opium seizure totaled 165.3 tons which is 30 percent higher than the haul confiscated last year.

Also, the amount of hashish seized was 36.3 tons which is 37 percent higher compared to same period in the preceding year.

He added that the police reckon that the amount of opium coming to the country since March was unchanged compared to last year.

Heroin imports dropped 15 percent and its seizure was 16 percent higher so far this year, the police official added.

Abouei said the tighter control of borders and drop in the amount of narcotics coming into the country has led to greater impurity in the distributed drugs as well as higher prices in the market.

He also said that over 87,900 drug traffickers have been arrested and 194,000 addicts rounded up.

In the same period over 1,100 gangs have also been smashed, 165 armed smuggler killed, and 586 arrested.

"30 police personnel were also martyred during the period," he said.

On the geographical distribution of confiscated illicit drugs, he added that about 82 percent of the drugs were seized in seven eastern provinces.

The financial losses to the drug gangs has forced the traffickers to alter their drug running activities to transit routes other than Iran.

Abouei said the rate of drug confiscation has increased to 40 percent this year from about 22 percent several years ago.

There has been higher incident of hostage taking of the distributors by the drug traffickers due to the former's inability to reimburse the drugs smugglers, the police official stated.

He pointed to the rampant cultivation of narcotics in Afghanistan, expressing concern on the unfettered activities of drug gangs in that country.

Abouei said that Western countries stated inability to rein in drug production in Afghanistan is not "acceptable" to Iran.

Of the 5,000 tons of opium cultivation in the world, Afghanistan's share is 4,200 tons, he said.

Also of the 7,000 tons of hashish produced world-side, 800 tons is grown in Afghanistan, Abouei stated.

Saying the world community has only recently come to realize the important contribution Iran has made in the fight against drugs, he called attention of world countries to the urgent need to give Iran the much needed support to continue its fight against drugs and drug traffickers.

Some 1.2 million people are addicted to narcotics in Iran while about 800,000 people use drugs occasionally.

The government has allocated some 300 billion rials to fund preventive measures, treatment, research, and promotion of non- governmental institutions active in the campaign against illicit drugs.

However, despite its unceasing anti-drug efforts, Iran continues to be a key route for southwest Asian drugs on their way to lucrative markets in Europe and Persian Gulf countries.

Iran's Ambassador and Resident Representative in Vienna Mohammad-Mehdi Akhoundzadeh has termed "insufficient and trivial" world aid to Iran in its anti-drug campaign.

... Payvand News - 1/1/06 ... --

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