Iranian cops seize tons of narcotics; Blame U.S. and NATO for drug problem

The commanding officer of Iranian Police in Iran’s third largest city Isfahan,  Abdolreza Aqakhani, claimed that his department seized upwards of two tons of narcotics and successfully smashed a drug-smuggling enterprise in the midst of his country’s New Year holidays in March. Chief Aqakhani also blamed the United States and its NATO allies for the drug problems facing the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Speaking to Iran’s government-controlled media on Monday, Aqakhani said his police department’s counter-narcotics task force seized the drugs being smuggled from Afghanistan by traffickers with the aid of local people and secular groups.
Iran is experiencing a deluge in opium imports, and the government admits that Iran has the highest per capita number of addicts in the world. “Last year, which ended on March 19, the drug combat squads of Iran’s law enforcement seized more than 520,000 kilograms of illicit drugs in countrywide operations,” according to former counter-narcotics expert David McMullen. He also indicated that police arrested a whopping 2,600 drug gangs and destroyed their drug-infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the commander of the anti-narcotics squad of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police, General Ali Moayyedi, said, “The Iranian police seized 525 tons of narcotics over the last 12 months.” General Moayyedi also noted that the illegal substances opium, hashish and heroin comprise most of the illicit drugs seized from drug traffickers in Iran.

While Afghanistan is blamed for producing and trafficking of various types of narcotic in the region, Iranian cops say that Pakistan is also an exporter of narcotics which flood the Iranian streets. The anti-drug squads of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police have intensified their war against drug-trafficking gangs through long-term systematic law enforcement operations since 2010.

According to former narcotics officer, Joseph “Jo-Jo” Petrocelli, the Iranian anti-narcotic units have staged periodic, albeit short-term, operations against drug traffickers and street-level dealers, but the latest reports reveal that the world’s most hard-hitting and dedicated anti-narcotic force (as U.N. drug-campaign assessments put it) has embarked on a long-term countrywide plan to crack down on the drug trade since five years ago.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the U.S. invasion of the country in 2001. While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the U.N. statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually.

In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons and Afghanistan government officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have “overlooked” the drug problem since invading the country more than 14 years ago.


Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show.. He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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