Police Seize Large Cargo of Opium in Southeastern Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Police forces in Iranian southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan seized more than 1,300 kilograms of opium after exchange of gunfire with drug traffickers, a local police chief said.
Sistan and Balouchestan's Police Chief Hamid Fahimirad said the police intensified security measures at checkpoints around the border city of Saravan on Saturday night, after they received information about drug-traffickers’ plan to transit large cargo of narcotics by car.
He said a shootout erupted between police forces and traffickers after police chased their car in a hot pursuit.
Fahimirad said that the drug-traffickers took advantage of the darkness and fled from the scene, leaving behind the drug-loaded vehicle from which 1,364 kg of opium was seized.
In recent decades Iran has been hit by drug trafficking, mainly because of its 936- kilometer shared border 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.