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Tajik Officials Unable To Check Russian Arms Smuggling

Tajikistan is already a common smuggling route for Afghan heroin.
DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities say they have no knowledge about a weapons cache smuggled into the country by senior Russian military officers and businessmen and destined for China.

Hakimjon Ibodov, an aide to Tajikistan's chief military prosecutor, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service on February 26 that the authorities have no information on the incident because Tajikistan has no legal right to check Russian military cargo.

Russia's chief military prosecutor said on February 25 that several Russian Navy officials are under investigation for attempting to smuggle $18 million in stolen weapons -- including 30 antisubmarine missiles and 200 bombs -- to China.

Russian analyst Aleksandr Khramchikhin says that the legal immunity granted by the Tajik government to Russian cargo encourages smuggling through Tajikistan.