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MOSCOW, December 6 /TASS/. Russian police have seized about 20 tonnes of narcotic, psychotropic and highly potent substances in Russia since the start of 2016, a source at the Russian Interior Ministry press service told TASS on Tuesday.
"Drug control officials have withdrawn 18.9 tonnes of narcotic, psychotropic and highly potent substances, including 11.7 tonnes of marijuana, 3 tonnes of synthetic drugs, 864 kilograms of heroin, 769.9 kilograms of hashish, 137 kilograms of cocaine and its derivatives, from illicit trafficking," the Russian Interior Ministry clarified.
On December 6, the Interior Ministry press service said, Russia marks the official day of recognition for the anti-drug units affiliated in the Russian Interior Ministry system. "At the moment, more than 10,000 anti-drug policemen serve in the Russian Interior Ministry units. They are highly-qualified experts whose professional knowledge and experience contribute to effectively tackling strategic tasks of the state’s anti-drug policy and bring about a substantial reduction in the illegal dissemination and non-medical use of drugs which is essential for protecting people’s safety and health and for defending the state and society," the Russian Interior Ministry press service said.
The first anti-drug units were formed within the USSR’s Ministry of the Interior on December 6, 1991. The Russian Interior Ministry set up a department to combat illegal drug trafficking a year later which succeeded the Office for Control over Illicit Drug Trafficking of the Interior Ministry of the USSR and a department for combatting drug dependency within the Criminal Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Later, the anti-drug units were reinstituted in the system of the Russian Criminal Investigation Service but despite that, the fight against drug-related crimes remained a priority for Russia’s domestic federal agencies.
A State Committee for Counteracting Illicit Drug Trafficking and Psychotropic Substances was set up under the Russian Interior Ministry on September 24, 2002. It was renamed the State Committee for Control over the Trafficking of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances on March 11, 2003 which, in turn, was later renamed once again the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia in 2004. On April 5, the functions of the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia were transferred to the Russian Interior Ministry.