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British police target Afghan poppy growers

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The British Ministry of Defense Police are working to counter the ongoing heroin threat in England by targeting illicit poppy growers in Afghanistan.

British police officials estimate that as much as 93 percent of heroin in the United Kingdom originates from the Taliban-sponsored poppy fields in Afghanistan.

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The Ministry of Defense Police, an armed police force responsible for securing Ministry of Defense installations, since January 2008 has deployed to Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province to target illicit poppy cultivation and help secure the British Forward Operating Bases in the region, the British Ministry of Defense reported.

At the top of the Ministry of Defense Police agenda is mentoring an elite force of Afghan Counter Narcotics Police. Officials say in November during a single raid, Afghan Counter Narcotics Police seized more than 38,500 pounds of poppy seeds.

"Seizing the poppy seed here (Afghanistan) means that there's suddenly a whole lot less heroin available to send to the United Kingdom," Rob Rogers, Ministry of Defense Police chief inspector, said in a statement.

"If that means the cost of the drug goes up, then fewer people can afford it and we may reduce the number of potential addicts. That's got to be a good result."

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