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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Experts Sough To Combat Drug Trade

The Russian illegal drugs market has been flooded over the last two years with a new wave of conventional and designer drugs and the police are relying more on cooperation with foreign narcotics bureaux to fight the problem, a senior Interior Ministry official said Tuesday.

Colonel Arkady Kuznetsov, acting head of the ministry's anti-drug department, said at a press conference that the biggest Russian cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, were being flooded by Colombian cocaine.

"A year ago in Moscow 1 gram of cocaine cost $200-300 but now the price has fallen to $170," he said. "It proves that the influx of this drug has grown considerably."

In New York, he said, 1 gram of cocaine costs $30 to $40.

"Also the influx of heroin is going up in this country," he said. "In the past this drug was traditionally used in the developed countries of Western Europe but now Russians use it a great deal."

Kuznetsov said there were 1.5 million drug users in Russia, and that 30 to 35 percent of all drugs were imported.

"We are now seeing the drug trimethylfentanyl,which is known only in Russia and the United States," he said. "This drug is several hundred times stronger than heroin."

Kuznetsov said police had last year detained four Russian students who produced trimethylfentanyl at Kazan University.

Kuznetsov said 1 gram of the drug could be dissolved in 10 liters of water to provide 2,000 x 5-milliliter fixes.

According to Interior Ministry statistics, there were 40,400 drug-related crimes over the first eight months of this year -- a 62.9 percent increase over the same period last year.

The statistics said police had confiscated 13,300 tons of drugs in the first eight months of 1994, compared with 35 tons over the whole of 1993.

An official statement said police had closed down 220 underground drug laboratories in the first six months of this year, compared with 300 in all of 1993.

Kuznetsov said Russian and Italian policemen had set up a direct satellite communications system, enabling them to exchange the latest information. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration plans to open a Moscow office to strengthen the bilateral struggle against drug trafficking. Such cooperation is vital to clamp down on the growing Russian role in the international drug trade, Kuznetsov said.

"The collapse of the Soviet Union and the loosening of border security has turned Russia into an attractive route for drug smugglers," he said.

Kuznetsov said the government had established a commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai which was working on a three-year federal program to fight the drug trade.