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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Record opium haul on Tajik border

Russian guards patrolling the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan say five armed smugglers were killed yesterday morning as they tried to transport two tons of raw opium across the border.

A spokesman for the guards said there was an exchange of fire when they moved in to stop some 30 smugglers in the Moskovsky checkpoint area.

He said the haul was largest single shipment ever apprehended on the external borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The shipment's estimated value at the border was $1m.

The confiscated opium was destroyed yesterday under the supervison of Tajik and Russian officials.

Tajikistan is a major traffiking route for drugs entering Russia and western Europe from Afghanistan.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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