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'Over 200 tonnes of heroin smuggled via Pak in a year'

July 06, 2012 22:48 IST

Over 200 tonnes of heroin was smuggled from Afghanistan and reached the global market after passing through Pakistan last year, custom officials said on Friday.

A conference organised by Pakistan Customs focussed on the anti-drug smuggling measures taken to seize heroin smuggled from Afghanistan through Pakistan to the international market.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, titled 'Control drugs - control crimes', senior customs official Habib Ahmed claimed that over 210 and 240 tonnes of heroin was smuggled from Afghanistan and reached the global market after passing through Pakistan last year.

Ahmed told the Dawn newspaper that even the global figures of heroin seizures were not very encouraging.

He added that out of every 500 tonnes produced, 58 tonnes (11 per cent) were seized in 2009. Habib also gave details about heroin production in Afghanistan pointing out that 6,000 tonnes of opium, which was over 90 per cent of the global produce last year, was grown in Afghanistan, while 610 tonnes of opium was produced in Myanmar, 25 tonnes in Laos, 10 tonnes in Mexico and nine tonnes in Colombia.

Since conversion ratio of opium to heroin was around 10 to 1, it was roughly estimated that Afghanistan produced 600 tonnes of heroin last year, he added.

He said that over 85 per cent of the heroin produced in Afghanistan was grown in the provinces -- Hilmand (66 per cent), Kandahar (nine per cent), Farah (10 per cent) -- neighbouring Pakistan.

He said that heroin produced in Afghanistan took four routes to reach global markets -- some 25 per cent of the product (nearly 150 tonnes) was smuggled through a northern route to reach Russia after passing through Central Asian republics to cater to 1.8 million addicts.

Between 35 and 40 per cent of the heroin (between 210 and 240 tonnes) was smuggled through Pakistan to reach the global markets, ranging from the Americas to Australia, Africa to Europe and China.

PTI
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