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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Six die in Iranian drugs haul
Afghan poppy field
Drugs from Afghanistan and Pakistan often go through Iran
Police in Iran say they have killed six drugs smugglers and seized 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of morphine in a major haul in the north east of the country.

They also captured one person and confiscated weapons and ammunition during the operation on Saturday in the north eastern province of Khorasan, a police source told the Reuters news agency.

The official Iranian news agency says the smugglers were moving drugs and weapons from the Sistan-Baluchistan province near Iran's border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, to markets in Turkey and Europe.

Iran is a major smuggling route for traffickers peddling drugs produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan for sale in Europe and Gulf Arab states.

Crackdown

Last week, police seized four tonnes of opium during clashes in which several traffickers were reported to have died in south-eastern Kerman province.

It was the largest haul in the history of the province.

Heroin
This is the third major drugs seizure this month
A police commander said the traffickers were also attempting to smuggle arms and other drugs in three cars, one of which was destroyed in a shoot-out.

Earlier in the month police killed a smuggler and seized 750 kg (1,650 lb) of opium and heroin in neighbouring Yazdi province.

Iran has stepped up operations against drug smugglers, spending nearly $20m in 2000 in the fight against narcotics.

Police recovered 180 tonnes of opium that year, accounting for 85% of the world's drug seizures.

See also:

21 Apr 02 | Middle East
Iran nets major drugs haul
25 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iran 'losing war on drugs'
06 Jul 00 | Middle East
Drugs and prostitution 'soar' in Iran
19 May 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Border patrol with Iran's drugbusters
20 Dec 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
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