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Tajik Border Guards Imprisoned For Drugs Smuggling

KHATLON, Tajikistan -- A military court in Tajikistan's southern region of Khatlon has sentenced five Border Guard Service officers to prison terms of between three and 21 years.

The harshest sentence was given to the former chief at the Vakhsh checkpoint on the Tajik-Afghan border, Nizomiddin Yakubov.

The judge told journalists after the November 13 court session that investigators had found 20 kilograms of hashish in Yakubov's office earlier this year.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security told RFE/RL that a top police official in Khatlon was arrested on November 13 after investigators found 12 kilograms of heroin in his possession.

Afghan-produced drugs have been illegally transported via Central Asia to Russia and Europe for years.

Last year, Tajik authorities confiscated 4.2 tons of illegal drugs from smugglers.

With reporting from Interfax