China arrests Pakistanis in major drug trafficking case

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Nov 13, 2006

Beijing, Nov 13: Chinese police have arrested 27 foreign drug trafficking suspects in Xinjiang, including Pakistanis, in the biggest drug seizure in the frontier region of northwest China.

Police in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have announced the arrest of 27 drug trafficking suspects from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa so far this year.

Police said they had arrested the suspects in connection with 13 major cases involving multi-national drug trafficking. Police confiscated 53.1 kilograms of heroin, which was almost triple the amount seized last year.

On October 22, customs officers found 20.7 kilograms of heroin in powder form hidden in 10 boxes marked "date fruits" that two Pakistan businessmen were carrying.

That discovery represented the largest seizure of illegal drugs to take place in Xinjiang. To date, nine suspects have been seized in connection with that case, including six Africans and three Pakistanis, the 'China Daily' reported.

Police attributed the spike in drug-smuggling cases to a drastic increase in production in the "Golden Crescent" area, which is currently the world's leading source of illicit drugs. The area straddles the common borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

In 1999, the area produced 4,600 tonnes of opium, or about 75 per cent of the world's total output that year, making Afghanistan the world's top opium producer. This year, by contrast, Afghanistan is expected to produce 6,100 tonnes of opium, or 92 per cent of the total global output.

--- PTI