NOVOSIBIRSK, October 23. /TASS/. Russian security authorities in the Novosibirsk region seized more than 65.6 kilograms of heroin worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the international black market and cut off a major drug trafficking route on Thursday.
The haul is one of the biggest drug seizures since 2011, said the Federal Security Service in the region, adding that it could have fetched more than $500 million on the international black market.
Two leaders of an inter-regional drug gang, which included citizens of a former Soviet republic, have been arrested and cases were registered against them, officials say, recalling the seizure in 2011 when officers in Novosibirsk intercepted 80 kilograms of heroin concealed in a container of apples.
Russia is one of the largest destinations for heroin from Afghanistan, the world’s main heroin producer. According to the Federal Drug Control Service, Russia seized 2.6 metric tons of Afghan heroin in 2013, a 20% increase on the previous year.
About one fifth of illegal drugs from Afghanistan is smuggled to Europe, Russia and the United States via the so-called “northern route” through Central Asia.