Russia announces Afghan heroin seizure

March 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

MOSCOW, March 12 (UPI) -- An operation in eastern Afghanistan netted nearly 21 tons of heroin and destroyed several drug production labs, a Russian official said Tuesday.

Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, said the amount of heroin seized in the operation was significant, the Russia news agency RIA Novosti reported.

"Twenty-one tons is, in essence, the annual volume of drugs brought into Russia," Ivanov said.

Official statistics indicate some 30,000 Russians die from heroin abuse each year with non-governmental organizations estimating the country has as many as 3 million heroin addicts.

The vast majority of heroin consumed in Russia comes from Afghanistan.

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