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10 kg heroin rerovered in Punjab after gunfight

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Chandigarh: Border Security Force (BSF) troopers recovered 10 kg of heroin along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab after an exchange of fire with Pakistani smugglers, a BSF spokesman said on Tuesday.

The heroin was recovered near border outpost (BoP) Muthianwala in the Ferozepur sector.

Based on specific information about smuggling of narcotics through international border, special ambush were laid by BSF troopers in the area and on observing suspicious movement of some miscreants ahead of the border security fence, the troopers challenged them.

“But the Pakistani smugglers did not pay any heed to the challenge and opened fire on BSF troopers. The BSF fired back in self-defence,” the spokesman said.

“However, the smugglers managed to escape taking cover of standing paddy crops and darkness. During search of the area, 10 packets (about 10 kg) of contraband, two magazines of an AK-47 rifle and one PVC pipe (approx 12 feet long) were recovered,” he added.

The heroin is valued at Rs 50 crore in the international market.

The total seizure of heroin this year by the BSF along the Punjab border is over 291 kg.The seizure of heroin in the entire last year (2014) was 361 kg in the Punjab sector, which was the highest ever.

(IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: www.defence.pk)

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World’s No. 1 opium-producing Country: Afghanistan’s illicit Poppy Harvest on the Rise Again in 2017

A new United Nations survey said Friday the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has increased by 10 percent, from 183,000 to 201,000 hectares, compared to the previous year, leading to a significant rise in the production of illicit opium.

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An Afghan man walks through a poppy field in Surkhroad district of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, 14, 2017. Source-VOA

The world’s No. 1 opium-producing country, Afghanistan, is braced for an exploding poppy harvest this year, as farmers are cultivating the illicit crop in areas where it has never grown before.

“Unfortunately, the narcotics production is on the rise this year,” Javed Qaem, Afghan deputy counternarcotics minister, told international donors in Kabul Tuesday. “We are concerned that narcotics would increase this year, including in areas and provinces where previously we had zero opium production.”

A new United Nations survey said Friday the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has increased by 10 percent, from 183,000 to 201,000 hectares, compared to the previous year, leading to a significant rise in the production of illicit opium. The illicit drug is fueling insecurity, violence and insurgency among other problems to discourage private and public investment in Afghanistan, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in its survey report.

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Qaem’s comments come amid growing international concern that the Taliban, who are fighting Afghan government troops in rural areas of the country, are fueling the poppy trade by engaging in trafficking and skimming hundreds of millions dollars in profit to fuel their militancy.

Taliban insurgents, according to U.S. officials, net 60 percent of their war chest from narcotics.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, March, 16, 2017, after being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, March, 16, 2017, after being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence.

Top producer of opium

Afghanistan is thought to produce an estimated 90 percent of the world’s heroin. As poppy cultivation spikes, U.S. intelligence officials warn that the war-torn country is likely to see more armed violence this year.

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“The intelligence community assesses that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in [the] military assistance by the United States and its partners,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a Senate hearing last week.

Since 2002, the U.S. has spent more than $8.5 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan — about $1.5 million a day, according to the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

In addition to war, opium fuels corruption and organized crime in Afghanistan, a country already ranked among the five most corrupt states in the world by Transparency International.

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Only 13 of the country’s 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped into single digits this year, Afghan officials say.

Areas of cultivation increase

Afghan authorities said poppies, which traditionally have been grown in southern provinces, have found fertile lands in several northern and northeastern provinces, including Balkh and Jawzjan.

A large-scale increase also is expected in provinces with previously little opium crops, such as northwestern Badghis and Ghor.

“Opium is cultivated in almost half of the province, including areas under the government influence,” a resident in northeastern Baghlan province told VOA on condition of anonymity for safety concerns. “Poppy crops are seen everywhere in the northeastern region. Badakhshan — which borders Tajikistan and China — is the epicenter of narcotics in the north.”

Afghan farmers work on a poppy field in the Gereshk district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 8, 2016.

Afghan farmers work on a poppy field in the Gereshk district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 8, 2016.

Helmand province a top producer

Around 50 percent of the poppy crop in Afghanistan is produced in southern Helmand province, which borders Pakistan.

The Afghan government says the increase in drug production and trafficking is taking place mostly in conflict-hit areas.

“Opium cultivation, production and trafficking take place in remote areas that are under the control of militants, terrorists and the Taliban,” said Afghan General Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, the deputy interior minister for counternarcotics.

The Afghan government says it, along with aid agencies, has been trying to help Afghans find a sustainable alternative crop source. But those efforts appear to be failing.

Afghan counternarcotics police said they last year seized almost 650 tons of contraband drugs. The confiscated drugs included raw opium, heroin and hashish. Around 2,683 smugglers and traffickers, including 67 women, were arrested last year, Ahmadi said.

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Experts say worsening security and immediate economic benefits for farmers are major reasons for the rise in poppy cultivation.

“A satanic triangle of smugglers, terrorists and corrupt government officials is involved in drug production and trafficking,” Haroon Rashid Sherzad, former Afghan acting minister of counternarcotics, told VOA. “Security is an important reason, but several other factors fuel the drug production and trade in Afghanistan. Corruption at the local government levels encourages poppy cultivation.”

Afghan response is lacking

Experts also believe that the increase is partly due to weak counternarcotics efforts by the government.

“The government lacks political will to fight opium production,” Abdul Aziz, a Kabul-based counternarcotics expert, told VOA. “For the last 16 years, the government has done little to rid the country of narcotics and provide alternatives to farmers.”

According to Sherzad, counternarcotics efforts require a comprehensive approach and coordination among government departments, which, he said, is lacking. He added that “narco-entrepreneurs” control large portions of government lands in several provinces where they cultivate poppies. (VOA)

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BSF seizes 1,000 bottles of cough syrup on Bengal frontier

Ambush party tried to nab the smugglers but they managed to escape in darkness

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Border Security Force (BSF)
  • The BSF seized 1,000 bottles of cough syrup phensedyl worth Rs 1.16 lakh from West Bengal’s Murshidabad district
  • The ambush party searched the country boat and recovered 25 packed cartons containing 40 bottles in each carton, totalling 1,000 bottles phensedyl with face value of Rs 1,16,000
  • Ambush party tried to nab the smugglers but they managed to escape in darkness

 

Kolkata, October 8, 2016: The BSF seized 1,000 bottles of cough syrup phensedyl worth Rs 1.16 lakh from West Bengal’s Murshidabad district but no smugglers were arrested, an official said on Saturday.

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On getting information about smuggling in the Kakmarichar border outpost area, a special ambush party was set up and deployed and challenged a country boat which was moving towards Bangladesh on the river Padma, the official said.

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“Ambush party tried to nab the smugglers but they managed to escape in darkness. The ambush party searched the country boat and recovered 25 packed cartons containing 40 bottles in each carton, totalling 1,000 bottles phensedyl with face value of Rs 1,16,000,” said a Border Security Force statement.

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The BSF has strengthened its vigil operation on the border to thwart the attempts of smugglers and anti-national elements, it added. (IANS)

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Stone thrown from Pakistan side lands in Indian territory on Attari-Wagah joint check post in Punjab

The Punjab Police is also investigating the sighting of two balloons and a pigeon in the border areas of Pathankot district

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Wagah Border, Wikimedia
October 3, 2016: A stone was thrown during the otherwise lowkey Retreat ceremony on Sunday evening at the Attari-Wagah joint check post, about 30 km from here, BSF sources said. No one was injured in the incident.

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Even as the stone thrown from the Pakistan side landed in the Indian territory and a section of Pakistani spectators raised anti-India and pro-Kashmir slogans, the ceremony carried out by border guards of both the countries continued.
The sources said the Border Security Force (BSF) immediately sought a flag meeting with Pakistan Rangers but there was no immediate response from them.

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The BSF had on Thursday suspended the ceremony following escalation in tensions between both nuclear neighbours after the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) to destroy terror launch pads.
The Punjab Police is also investigating the sighting of two balloons and a pigeon in the border areas of Pathankot district.

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“Messages in Urdu were attached to the balloons and the pigeon in which India was warned on behalf of Pakistan-based terrorist organisations about terror strikes in future,” a Punjab Police officer said. (IANS)