An Iranian police officer stands behind displayed narcotic drugs which were seized at Iran’s border with Afghanistan in the east of the country. ©AP
Iranian security forces have tracked down and disbanded an international drug trafficking band in the country’s southeast.
The head of the anti-narcotics department at Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said on Monday that the forces also confiscated 21 tons of drug precursors in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan.
The security official added that the find constituted a large number of 220-liter barrels containing acetic anhydride liquid, a chemical used for producing drugs, that had been subtly placed in a number of cargo containers.
He added that the traffickers had imported the cargo of chemicals from China and Taiwan in the guise of second-hand auto parts and sought to unload the containers inside Iran and ship them to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The official noted that such a big haul of chemicals was enough to produce nearly seven tons of pure heroin.
Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to drug kingpins in Europe.
Iran has spent more than USD 700 million to seal the borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries. The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past 34 years.
In December 2015, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Yury Fedotov signed an agreement in the Austrian capital of Vienna to fight the flow of narcotics into Iran from neighboring countries, mainly Afghanistan.