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Iran’s customs office reports 523% surge in narcotics seizure in quarter to May

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s customs office says narcotics seizure at borders surged by over five times in the quarter to May.

Iran’s customs office IRICA says seizure of narcotics grew by over five times in size in the quarter to late May as authorities blame the surge on a boom in narcotics production in neighboring Afghanistan.

IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said on Sunday that narcotics seizure at Iranian border crossings and airport gateways had increased by 523% in the quarter to May 21 against the same quarter in 2020.

Latifi did not elaborate on total seizure figures, but said that Iranian customs departments had confiscated a total of 120 metric tons of chemical substances that are used to manufacture various types of recreational drugs in Iran and in other countries.

The official said the seizure of record hauls of narcotics at Iranian borders was partly due to an exponential increase in production of crystal methamphetamine in neighboring Afghanistan in recent years.

He said nearly 11 tons of red phosphorus had been seized in Dogharoon crossing in the eastern border with Afghanistan in one single operation that occurred between March and May.

“The seizure had a major impact to prevent the production of manufactured narcotics in Afghanistan. The haul had been planted inside sugar bags,” said Latifi.

The spokesman said IRICA has intensified its narcotics seizure inspections at airport gateways, adding that a large haul of ketamine, an expensive anesthetic medication that is also used as a recreational drug, had been found in cargoes at Tehran’s International Imam Khomeini Airport.

Iran spends huge resource each year to fight narcotics as the country is a main transit route for shipments of contraband substances from Asia to Europe.

Latifi said IRICA has repeatedly been hailed by the World Customs Organization for its successful narcotics seizure processes.

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