MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Almost 21 tons of heroin have been seized in an operation in eastern Afghanistan , the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) said on Tuesday.
“An operation was carried out yesterday in the province of Nangarhar, during which several drug production labs were destroyed and almost 21 tons of heroin seized,” FSKN head Viktor Ivanov said.
He said FSKN officers had taken part in the “unique operation.”
“Twenty-one tons is, in essence, the annual volume of drugs brought into Russia,” Ivanov said.
The Pajhwok Afghan News agency said five heroin producing laboratories were destroyed by security forces during an operation in the Sherzad district of eastern Nangarhar province on Monday. Several people were arrested, the agency said, citing officials.
Some 30,000 Russians die from heroin abuse every year, according to official statistics, accounting for around one-third of all heroin-related deaths worldwide. NGOs estimate that there are up to three million heroin addicts in the country.
The vast majority of the heroin consumed in Russia is from Afghanistan. The United Nations says some 20 percent of the almost 400 tons of heroin produced annually in the war-ravaged state travel through Central Asia before reaching the Russian market.