MOSCOW, March 9 (UPI) -- Heroin traffic through Iraq from Afghanistan is earning the Islamic State over $1 billion dollars a year, Russia's drug control chief said.
Viktor Ivanov, head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), said Friday, "The transit of heroin from Afghanistan though the Islamic State-controlled territory is huge financial sponsorship. According to our estimates, IS makes up to $1 billion on Afghan heroin trafficked through its territory."
In November the agency reported that half of all Europe's heroin supply is brought through Iraq and through some African countries, in each case employing IS militants in the delivery stream.
Transfer of heroin has become a reliable income source for IS, the agency said, adding that drug routes across the Gulf of Aden to African countries have increased the number of drug kingpins and pirate gangs.
"The area of poppy plantations is growing," Ivanov said. "This year, I think, we'll hear news about record-high poppy harvest [and] therefore the high yield of opium and heroin. So this problem should be raised not only in Moscow, but also in the U.N. in general, because this is a threat not only to our country, but also European security."