Police Smash Tens of Drug Rings in Southern Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian police forces have dismantled 79 rings involved in drug-trafficking activities in southern province of Bushehr during the past nine months, a senior provincial police chief said on Tuesday.
“During the course of the past nine months, our officers have managed to dismantle 79 drug bands and seize over 1.5 tons of various types of narcotics, including opium, hashish, heroin, and synthetic drugs,” Bushehr's Anti-Drug Police Chief General Hojjatollah Nouri told Tasnim on Tuesday.
He noted that during the stated period, police have arrested 2,156 drug-traffickers and dealers.
Nouri also stressed the Iranian police's determination to confront drug-traffickers throughout the country.
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.
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.