MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s anti-drug agency said Wednesday that it had seized a total of $46 million worth of Afghan heroin, about 145 kilograms of the narcotic, during a recent series of raids.
The drugs had been smuggled from Tajikistan inside trucks that passed through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in late October, the Federal Drug Control Service said in a statement.
“Six participants of an international organized crime group consisting of nationals of the Russian Federation and Central Asian republics were detained,” the statement said.
The police operation was conducted in several stages. Initially, 32 kilograms of heroin was seized from an alleged gang member in the Moscow Region. Another suspect, detained soon after, was found with some 26 kilograms of the drug. A third suspect had 27 kilograms, the statement said.
The final stage of the operation resulted in the apprehension of three alleged drug couriers in central Russia’s Vladimir Region. A total of 59 kilograms was seized from a truck owned by one of the purported couriers.
The head of the anti-drug agency’s Moscow branch, Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Davydov, told journalists on Wednesday that police in the region had seized a total of 900 kilograms of heroin since the start of this year.
Some 30,000 Russians die from heroin use every year, according to official statistics.