Iran Seizes nearly 9 Tonnes of Drugs Destined for Europe
Iran seized 8.8 tonnes of drugs destined for Europe and busted one of the three largest crime groups for drug trafficking, police officials reported on Thursday.
"This huge narcotics shipment, which was hidden in a petrol tanker and reached here via Iran's eastern border, was supposed to be offloaded and then smuggled to European countries," state television reported from the northwestern city of Urmia, not far from the Turkish border..
Deputy Police Director Ayoub Soleimani said the shipment contained 3.5 tonnes of morphine and 5.3 tonnes of opium. Nine traffickers were arrested and an extra 20 kg of heroin and 130 weapons were found.
90% of the world's opium is produced in the neighbouring Afghanistan, which is extracted from poppy seeds and refined for the production of heroin and morphine. Iran is a major transit route for opiates produced in Afghanistan for Europe and the US. Iran seizes and destroys hundreds of tonnes of drugs each year.
According to recent UN data, Iran accounted for 91 percent of the world's opium seizures and 20 percent of heroin and morphine seizures in 2017.
Tehran has repeatedly threatened Europe that if it did not intervene to ease US sanctions, it would invest less in the fight against drug trafficking.
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