Kyrgyzstan publishes anti-drug trafficking statistics

More than seven tonnes of illegal drugs, 66 percent of which comprised heroin and opium, were seized in Kyrgyzstan this year.

Tair Shamshiyev

2009-12-07

KYRGYZSTAN — Kyrgyz security agencies battling the illegal trade in drugs reported that this year they seized more than seven tonnes of drugs, 66 percent of which comprised heroin and opium.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Office stated on Nov. 20 that in a joint operation by Russian, Kyrgyz and Kazakh security agencies in Russia’s Altai Territory, they had arrested the coordinators of an important drug supply route from Central Asia to Russia.

There is currently greater and more effective cooperation between Central Asian countries on drug-related crime, culminating in the creation in Russia of a central database containing information about international criminal gangs involved in illegal drug trafficking that will become operational later this month. Collective Treaty Security Organisation member states have all contributed information to the database.

The Kyrgyz security agencies’ greatest success this year came in August, when a large consignment of opium from Afghanistan worth more than US$7 million was seized.

Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Office head Bakyt Seitov noted that the number of couriers carrying drugs in their stomachs has recently been increasing. Dozens of “human containers” have been arrested this year.

“Unfortunately, in recent years, Kyrgyzstan has become not only the biggest supplier of hard drugs, but also the biggest consumer. According to some sources, more than five percent of its population uses hard drugs,” said the director of the NGO Parents against Drugs, Omur Burkhanov.

The destruction of illegal drug plantations and cannabis fields in particular, remains a pressing issue in Kyrgyzstan. According to law enforcement agencies, up to 10,000 hectares of cannabis fields remain to be destroyed. Authorities want to involve local residents in their eradication and will launch a large-scale awareness campaign to this end.

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