Customs officers seize 100 kg of heroin in western Russia

MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti) - Border guards have seized about 100 kg (220 lbs) of heroin at the Nekhoteyevka checkpoint near the western Russian city of Belgorod, a customs service spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

A total of 200 packs containing 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) of heroin each were stashed in gaps under the trailer of a Volvo truck driven by a Turkish national.

"Half of them were specially marked, confirming the high quality of the product," the spokeswoman for the regional customs service department said.

The driver was detained and criminal case has been started.

Last year, a total of 3.5 metric tons of the drug were seized in Russia, up 17% from 2009. The Federal Drugs Control Service said earlier in the day that Russian drug control officers have seized some 500 kg (1,100 lbs) of heroin since the beginning of the year, up 70% year-on-year.

Most of the heroin and hashish coming into Russia originates in Afghanistan and is then trafficked through the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Most of the drugs are then sold in Russia's largest cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg or shipped on to Europe.

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