U.S.-Russia force raids Afghan drug labs

Oct. 29, 2010 at 11:19 AM
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MOSCOW, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The first joint U.S.-Russian drug raid in Afghanistan destroyed four major laboratories, Russia's top drug-fighter said Friday.

Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia's Federal Anti-Narcotics Committee, said at a Moscow news conference with Eric Rubin, deputy head of mission of the U.S. Embassy, the labs, raided by a force of 70, were on the Pakistani border, RIA Novosti reported.

"The operation began on Oct. 28 at 6:30 a.m. and four drug laboratories were destroyed by 10:20 a.m.," Ivanov said.

He said the raiders seized more than 2,000 pounds of high-quality heroin and 344 pounds of opium, with an estimated value of $250 million. Ivanov gave no information on casualties or the number of people captured in the raid.

The operation, planned over three months, destroyed three heroin labs and one morphine lab.

Ivanov praised the work of a Russian-U.S. presidential commission on drug trafficking as an example of a "reset" in bilateral relations.

Afghan drug production increased dramatically after the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban in 2001, and heroin consumption in Russia has soared.

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