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Police launch anti-drug swoop in Tehran park, arrest 150 people
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posted August 03, 2001 09:46
TEHRAN, Aug 1 (AFP) - Some 150 people were arrested in a northern Tehran park in the early hours of Wednesday after police launched a vast operation against drug addicts, sellers and producers, state radio reported. Police in Lavizan park also confiscated a "great amount of drugs and counterfeit banknotes," the radio said, adding that those arrested had been handed over to the judiciary.
In February, Iranian police destroyed several dozen houses and evacuated some 2,000 people in Tehran's eastern Khak-e Sefid (White Dust) area during an unprecedented two-day operation against drug traffickers that netted 70 arrests.
In that poor neighborhood, also known as Djazireh, or island, trafficking in all kinds of narcotics was carried out in the open, and it had become a refuge for car thieves and other petty criminals over the past few years.
Iran is a major transit point between drug producers in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the markets of Europe and the Persian Gulf.
It has mounted a crackdown on drug trafficking, but security forces manage to seize only about one-tenth of the estimated 2,000 tones of narcotics that pass through the country each year.
Iranian authorities also regularly accuse Afghanistan's ruling Taliban fundamentalist militia of complicity in the cross-border drug trade.
According to an anti-drug official quoted earlier this week by the state IRNA news agency, legal authorities currently have five million open files on drug-related offenses.
Iran arrested 350,000 people for drug offenses through the year that ended March 2001, the official added.
All times are PT (US)
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