$2.8b of drug traffickers’ assets confiscated

February 20, 2021 - 17:21

TEHRAN – Iranian police have seized illegally acquired assets of drug traffickers worth 120 trillion rials (nearly $2.8 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials) over the past 10 months, IRNA reported on Saturday.

Trafficking in drugs and other related crimes generates huge illicit funds which are used to support other criminal activity, corruption, illicit arms trading, the smuggling of goods and currency, and other economic offenses. The traditional enforcement techniques aimed only at carriers and confiscation of the seized contraband no longer provide a sufficient deterrent.

The $2.8b forfeiture of the property and assets of smugglers is about three times more than the amount confiscated in the [Iranian calendar year] 1397 (March 2018-March 2019), Eskandar Momeni, the secretary-general of Iran’s drug control headquarters, said in a press conference.

“One of the most important measures in the fight against narcotics was the establishment of a committee to confiscate all property illegally acquired or accumulated in the [Iranian calendar year] 1398 (March 2019-March 2020), because we believe that they will continue smuggling in prison unless their property is seized,” he stated.

Pointing to the control of illegal import and distribution of narcotics as other new services of the headquarters, he said that this led to a reduction in the volume of transit through Iran and a change of route to other countries.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Momeni announced that two care centers have been set up for addicts with specific diseases, hepatitis and HIV, and two care centers for addicted women. The establishment of two other centers is on the agenda.

Iran’s anti-narcotics measures

Iran seized some 1,000 tons of narcotics in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2020), putting the country in first place in the world, Momeni said in July 2020.

After the Islamic Revolution (in 1979), 3,800 were martyred, 12,000 were wounded and disabled in the fight against drug trafficking, Momeni announced.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has praised Iran’s efforts to fight against narcotics trafficking on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The organization also officially announced that the world’s first place in the discovery of opium, heroin, and morphine belongs to Iran.

According to UNODC, Iran remains one of the major transit routes for drug trafficking from Afghanistan to European countries and has had a leading role at the global level in the drug-control campaigns.

UNODC World Drug Report 2020 estimates that in 2018, 91 percent of world opium, 48 percent of the world morphine, and 26 percent of the world heroin were seized by Iran.

Iran’s drug control efforts led to the seizure of 266 tons of different types of drugs during the period of April-June 2020, a 20 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019.