TEHRAN (AA) – Drug seizures in Iranian airports over the past five months have more than doubled compared to the same period a year ago, a top police official said Sunday.
More than 107 kilograms (236 pounds) of illicit drugs have been seized in various Iranian airports in the last five months, the Iranian Airport Police commander-in-chief, Col. Hassan Mehri, said at a press conference in Tehran.
Mehri said that since December 2013 more than 799,000 Haj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia had been searched in 2,543 police stations.
“We stopped those pilgrims even with one gram of a traditional or an industrial drug and introduced them to the judicial system for further punishment,” Mehri said.
He warned that people who intend to traffic drugs would be punished for a first offense by a five-year prohibition on leaving the country. For the second offense, the penalty would increase to 15 years, he said.
According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime 2013 report, Iran accounted for 80 percent of the opium seizures in the world last year and 30 percent of the heroin seizures, making it the number one country in both categories.
Iranian officials have said earlier that the country is paying a heavy price for its campaign against narcotics, and they have expressed dissatisfaction over what they call the lack of support from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
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