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Russian Police Arrest Alleged Smugglers Of Afghan Heroin

Russian police say they have seized more than 1,000 kilograms of Afghan-produced heroin and arrested more than 30 suspected drug traffickers in an operation targeting a criminal group with ties in Tajikistan.

Interfax quotes officials from the Russian Federal Drug Control Service as saying on September 18 that the core of the smuggling group was comprised of veterans from Tajikistan’s civil war in the 1990s, including former government troops and opposition fighters.

Another 14 suspects were being sought abroad, including the group’s alleged leader.

Russian police say the heroin was hidden in railroad cargo and in automobiles.

They said funds from drug sales were deposited with illegal financial centers in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, and Cyprus.

Viktor Ivanov, director of the Russian drug control agency, called on September 18 for greater cooperation between his force and antidrug agencies in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax