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    SINCE YEAR START RUSSIAN CUSTOMS OFFICERS HAVE SEIZED OVER 160 KG OF NARCOTICS

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    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - In the first quarter of 2004, Russian customs officers seized over 160 kilograms of narcotics, RIA Novosti learnt on Tuesday from the press service of the customs agency.

    "In cooperation with foreign and Russian law enforcers, nine 'controlled delivery' operations were held. They have removed from illegal drug traffic about 39 kilograms of narcotic substances, psychotropic and hard drugs," reads the press service communique, received by RIA Novosti.

    It also says that, over this time the illegal taking out of Russia of more than 686 articles of cultural and historic value was prevented.

    "Under the criminal cases initiated on facts of illegal movement across the customs border, about 250 million rubles' worth (1 dollar approximately equals 28.8 rubles) of material values, over 85 kilograms of precious metals and semiprecious gemstones were detained," reads the communique.

    On facts of crimes and offenses under the jurisdiction of the customs organs, in the first three months of 2004 a total of 520 criminal cases were initiated and over 19,000 files on administrative offenses launched.

    "In the first quarter of 2004, under the criminal cases involving illegal movement of goods across the customs border more than 67 million rubles were seized as evasion from paying customs duties. The amount of returned hard currency earnings was over 330 million rubles," reports the customs press service.

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