MOSCOW, September 27 (Itar-Tass) - More than 2,000 laboratories are working to produce drugs to be brought into Russia, Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Ivanov said on Friday. Smuggling played a central role in narcotics crime, principally heroin and hashish produced in Afghanistan on a mass industrial scale, he said.
Laboratories concentrated in northern Afghan provinces produced drugs to be smuggled only into Russia, Ivanov noted, addressing law-enforcement heads in the Prosecutor-General's Office.
Up to 150 large narco-communities operated in the Central Asian region organising drug traffic in Russia and involving almost 1,900 organised criminal groups, Ivanov said. These numbered about 20,000 active members and at least 100,000 smugglers, he said, citing data presented by the Drug Control Service, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the External Intelligence Service, the Federal Customs Service and the Defence Ministry's Main Intelligence Department.
Regrettably, state border control as an instrument of preventing smuggling of illegal and dangerous cargo was excluded from the system of mechanisms established to fight smuggling. Indicative of this was the low number of smuggling criminal cases recorded in Russia, the official said.
No more than 200 crimes of heroin smuggling to Russia were registered by all the services every year, while almost 60,000 cases of Afghan drug sales were detected inside the country.This meant that almost all drug traffic crimes were detected in Russia after consignments had crossed the state border and were distributed in small batches all over the country, the official noted. It was necessary to improve border guard control, he said, noting five key areas of focus, classified as migration, trade and economy, transport, technical and operative search.