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Armenia Arrests Iranians, Seizes Drugs Smuggled Via Turkey

YEREVAN -- Armenian law-enforcement officials have seized heroin and opium smuggled over the border with Turkey and arrested three Iranians in connection with the trafficking incidents, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

In one incident on February 8, authorities said, about seven kilograms of heroin were found in a car driven by Hovannes Davtian, a Russian citizen of Armenian descent, who was accompanied by Iranian Mostafa Advai.

Police said in a statement that a drug trafficker in Turkey threw the heroin over the barbed-wire fence along the Armenian border, and that Advai picked it up. It said both Advai and Davtian were arrested near the closed border, which is guarded by Russian troops.

Another Iranian, Hossein Tazeh Kand, was arrested in the same area earlier on February 8. Authorities said police found about five kilograms of opium in his car.

Prosecutors estimate the total street value of all of the seized drugs is around $2 million and that about a dozen people have been arrested. Police said at least three of the detainees are Iranian.

A number of Iranian nationals are already serving prison sentences in Armenia on drug-related charges. Iran is believed to be the main source of drugs smuggled into the country.