Over 1.2 tons of narcotics seized in Sistan-Balouchestan

February 9, 2020 - 17:1

TEHRAN — Police forces in Sistan-Balouchestan Province have dismantled a drug-trafficking cell and confiscated nearly 1,229 kilograms of narcotics, the provincial police chief has said.

 The anti-narcotics police of Zahedan traced the haul of narcotics through extensive operations, arresting a member of the drug-trafficking cell while trafficking 179 kg of opium in a sedan, Brigadier General Mohammad Ghanbari said on Saturday.

Ghanbari said police forces identified the hideout of the drug cell and captured two other offenders along with 762 kg of Opium, 250 kg of hashish, 12 kg of heroin, 4 kg of crystal and 19 kg of other narcotics, Mehr reported.

Two cars and some ammunitions were also busted during the operation, he said.

Iran is at the forefront of the fight against drug trafficking. The drugs are mainly destined to lucrative markets in Europe and Persian Gulf Arab states.

The drugs originate from neighboring Afghanistan. 

On Feb. 7 the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the results of the annual U.S. government estimate measuring poppy cultivation and potential opium production in Afghanistan.

The U.S. government estimate of “Afghanistan Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production” found poppy cultivation decreased in 2019 compared to 2018, but potential pure opium production increased, according to whitehouse.gov.

“Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan declined 28 percent, from 221,000 hectares in 2018 to 160,000 hectares in 2019.  Conversely, potential pure opium production increased by 21 percent, from 5,550* metric tons in 2018 to 6,700 metric tons in 2019.  Low opium prices at planting time drove the decline in cultivation.  The rise in potential pure production is a direct result of favorable weather and harvesting conditions,” ONDCP said. 

John F. Sopko, U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, in November 2019 that the counternarcotics effort in Afghanistan "has just been a total failure", the Business Insider said on December 5.

Opium cultivation covered 263,000 hectares in Afghanistan, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. That was down from 328,000 hectares in 2017 but still more than any other year since 1994.

In April 2019, Iranian Police Chief Hossein Ashtari described Iran as a pioneering state in the campaign against drug trafficking and said, "We have declared our information and needs to the international organizations but I should say that we have not pinned hope on their aid."

"We do not have hope that the international organizations can seriously confront" the cultivation and production of narcotics in Afghanistan, General Ashtari said.

MH/PA

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