Over 3 tons of drugs seized in Russia this year

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MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's customs officers have seized more than 3 tons of drugs this year, a 76% increase compared with 2007 when 1.7 tons were confiscated, a spokesman for the Federal Customs Service said on Monday.

The spokesman said 702 kg of heroin, 260 kg of marijuana, 245 kg of hashish, 123 kg of cocaine and 98 kg of opium had been seized over the past year.

A total of 726 drug trafficking cases were launched in 2008, according to the service.

Russia closely cooperates with law enforcement agencies in Germany, the U.S., Turkey and ex-Soviet states to combat drug-related crimes, the spokesman said.

Drug trafficking is an acute problem for Russia, where drug use has increased almost tenfold since 1990. Between 10,000 and 30,000 drug-related deaths are recorded in the country each year.

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