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Police have seized a total of 10.4 kilograms of heroin, 1.8 kilograms of opium and 10.2 kilograms of hashish of Afghan origin, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry told TASS.
The ministry suspects that Atabayev, 48, led an international drug trafficking group that had supplied banned psychoactive substances to Kazakhstan and Russia from Tajikistan via Kyrgyzstan.
This is not the first case when a high-ranking media representative has been held for drugs in Kyrgyzstan. In 2011, the editor-in-chief of the popular newspaper Kyrgyz Rukhu, Arstanbek Duyshenbiyev, was detained in a similar case.
Kyrgyzstan is located right on the so-called “northern route” of supplies of drugs from Afghanistan to Russia and further to the European countries.
Up to 20 tons of drugs are seized in the Central Asian republic annually. Experts say the amount of opium and heroin transited through the country increases every year.