Iran Captures Drug Kingpin in Border Province
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian police forces in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan arrested the ringleader of an international drug trafficking gang after an exchange of fire in a nocturnal operation.
Following extensive intelligence activities and after receiving information about a drug-transiting operation near the city of Iranshahr, police forces were deployed to the zone on Saturday night and lay in ambush to attack the smugglers, provincial police chief, General Hossein Rahimi said Sunday.
A gun battle broke out late Saturday night, the commander added, saying the traffickers fled the zone and left 3 vehicles behind after an hour of shoot-out that left some of them injured.
According to the general, 1,440 kilograms of opium, 96 kg of heroin and a large amount of ammunition were confiscated from the cars.
During a subsequent manhunt, and with the assistance of local forces, the injured ringleader was arrested at a hospital in Iranshahr, to which he was admitted under a false identity, he added.
According to the commander, two separate anti-drug operations in the province on the same night led to the seizure of more than a ton of opium.
Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.
Despite high economic and human costs, the Islamic Republic has been actively fighting drug-trafficking over the past three decades.
The country has spent more than $700 million on sealing its borders and preventing the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.
The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past 34 years.