May 16 - The Russian anti-drug tsar says four drug labs were closed, 67 people were arrested and tonnes of drugs were seized in Afghanistan last week. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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A drug bust in Afghanistan.
A joint operation of Russian, Afghan and the U.S. special forces captured several tonnes of narcotics and destroyed four drug labs in Afghanistan last week.
The teams discovered four drug labs, arrested 67 people and seized drugs worth more than $110 million, in the course of a two-week operation that ended on Monday,
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CHIEF OF RUSSIA'S FEDERAL SERVICE FOR CONTROL OF NARCOTICS, VICTOR IVANOV SAYING:
"In total nearly three tonnes of hashish were seized. As a matter of fact, it's more than we seize annually in the Russian Federation, so it shows that the concentration of efforts on drug production sites is dozens, or maybe hundreds, of times more effective than elsewhere."
Ivanov, who has criticized U.S. and NATO strategies, saying they should focus more on eradicating poppy crops, hopes to discuss the need for radical changes in fighting drugs at the next anti-drug conference in Peru's capital Lima in June.
Afghanistan accounts for about 90 percent of the world's opium production and contributes heavily to deadly heroin and HIV/AIDS problems in Russia, the world's largest per capita heroin consumer.
Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.
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