Big Narcotic Drugs Band Dismantled in Southeastern Iran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – After months of intensive intelligence work, police forces of Kerman province, in southeast Iran, managed to dismantle a big narcotic drugs band, commander of the force said Thursday.

Big Narcotic Drugs Band Dismantled in Southeastern Iran

“In line with the nationwide campaign against narcotic drugs, after months of intensive intelligence work, Kerman police identified a big drug band and managed to arrest its members,” said General Hossein Chenarian in a press conference.

According to General Chenarian, 849 kilograms of narcotic drugs were seized and one of the traffickers was killed in exchange of fire with police forces in the operation.

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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