TASHKENT, June 23 (RIA Novosti) – Authorities have seized 21 kilograms (46 pounds) of raw opium and more than a kilogram of heroin from an Afghan man who sailed his boat up a river into the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, an Uzbek customs official said Sunday.
The confiscated narcotics make up about one-sixth of the 136 kilograms of hard drugs seized by the Uzbek customs service since the beginning of the year.
War-torn Afghanistan is the world’s No. 1 producer of opium, and its government will need to decide on its own how to combat drug trafficking after the US military pulls out of the country next year, the head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration said earlier this month at a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.
According to a United Nations report last year, almost a quarter of the heroin produced in Afghanistan – some 90 tons out of 380 – passed through Central Asia, 75 percent of which was “destined for the Russian market.”
The sailor in the recent drug bust, a citizen of Afghanistan identified as Mohammad Mosadik, was detained after crossing the Uzbek border via the Amu Darya river, the customs official told RIA Novosti, adding that an investigation into the incident was still underway.