The Kazakh Interior Ministry’s special forces carried out ten operations this year jointly with the Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Russian law-enforcement agencies to close regular routes used for smuggling drugs in transit, the head of the committee for fighting drug trafficking under the Kazakh Interior Ministry, Maratkali Nukenov, has said.
"We carried out ten special operations jointly with neighbours this year, during which regular routes used for supplying drugs were found and closed," Nukenov said at a news conference in Astana today, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported.
He said the Kazakh Interior Ministry "is working very fruitfully with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia in this sphere on the basis of 34 international agreements signed between them in the area of fighting drug trafficking, including seven bilateral agreements".
Nukenov recalled that a regional information coordination centre for fighting drug trafficking and psychotropic substances in Central Asia was being planned to be set up in Almaty, which would become "a coordinating body for the law-enforcement agencies and special forces of countries in the region".
Nukenov said that the Kazakh police had uncovered "more than 5,000 crimes and seized over 4 tonnes of drugs, including more than 250 kg of heroin and opium" since the beginning of the year.
Nukenov said that there were currently 55,000 officially-registered drug addicts in Kazakhstan. "They are mainly heroin addicts and they are about 40,000, including 4,500 women and about 5,000 underage youth," he said.
The Kazakh population is over 15.4 million people.