Tajiks Seize Biggest Drugs Haul

Tajik security forces have seized more than 500 kilograms of drugs in the biggest drug haul since independence from the Soviet Union, the Tajik Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The nation lies on the main trafficking route out of neighboring Afghanistan, the world's top producer of opium and its refined form, heroin.

The ministry said a Soviet-era truck loaded with 530 kilograms of drugs was intercepted while traveling from the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to the northern city of Khujand.

"The driver … has been arrested. Hundreds of kilograms of hashish and dozens [of kilograms] of heroin were discovered in the truck's body," a ministry spokesman said. "It is the biggest haul in terms of volume that has ever been seized in Tajikistan."

After passing through Tajikistan, batches of heroin are spirited to the north across Central Asia and Russia until they reach the streets of London or Paris, where a kilogram of heroin can get as much as $300,000.

n Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov on Wednesday accused "an army" of migrant workers from former Soviet republics of smuggling illegal drugs into Russia.

"Along with weakened border patrol, the main factor in the worsening of the drug situation in Russia is the army of migrant workers who make up more than 10 percent of the country's working population," Ivanov said, Interfax reported.

(Reuters, MT)