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Southwest Asia: Iranian Police Kill 24 Drug Smugglers in "Shoot-Out"

Iranian police killed 24 drug smugglers in a Sunday night "shoot-out" near the Afghan border, the Associated Press reported, citing Iranian state radio. Curiously, there were no accounts of any killed or wounded police in what must have been a very one-sided "shoot-out."
Iranian Anti-Narcotics Police, display at UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs summit, Vienna, March 2008
The incident occurred in the Taybad district about 600 miles east of the capital, Tehran. It is a rugged area where Iranian police have battled drug smugglers for decades. According to the Iranians, more than 3,000 police, soldiers, and border guards have died in the past three decades fighting smugglers.

While drug smuggling from neighboring Afghanistan has been going on for decades, the rise of Afghanistan to global preeminence in the opium trade -- it now accounts for up to 93% of global opium production, according to the UN -- has only heightened the flow of opium, and increasingly, heroin processed in Afghan labs, into Iran. Some of that commerce is destined for consumption within the Islamic Republic, which boasts the world's highest opiate addiction rate, while the rest is destined for markets in the Middle East and Europe.

Police reported seizing guns and drugs during the lethal exchange in Taybad. That's not surprising: Iran seized 330 tons of drugs, mostly opium and heroin, and some marijuana and hashish in 2006. Last year's figures, which have not yet been released, will probably be similar, if not higher.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Tons and tons and tons and tons and...

Think about it. 300 tons. THREE HUNDRED TONS of drugs...and the cartels just diddey-bop along, hardly a scratch on them financially. If they can afford to lose such huge amounts and nothing causes them to falter in their stride, then of what point was it that 1,3000 cops have died? All so effing stupid...

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