UNODC-supported State Service on Drug Control in Kyrgyzstan showing results
12 October 2011 - Several recent operations conducted by Kyrgyzstan's State Service on Drug Control have resulted in the confiscation of drugs worth approximately $1.35 million which were being smuggled as "bullets", sealed packets of drugs swallowed to avoid detection. These latest results follow an April 2011 agreement between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Kyrgyz Government which supports the re-established State Service on Drug Control in a bid to assist in building capacity and effectiveness with respect to countering drug trafficking.
As the country's lead entity in tackling the flow of illicit drugs moving out of Afghanistan en route to markets in Europe and Asia, the State Service has targeted its latest operation at "swallowers", traffickers who move drugs in their stomachs, through enhanced operational and intelligence work. In September, the agency intercepted over 30 kg of heroin and a similar amount of hashish worth some $1.35 million. The seizures, some two months after the formation of the State Service, are a positive development in stepping up targeted actions against drug trafficking in the country and the region.
In early September, a controlled delivery operation was conducted with authorities from the Russian Federation, resulting in the arrest in Magnitogorsk of a Russian national in possession of heroin and hashish of Afghan origin. Roughly one week later, two people - one person from Tajikistan and one from Kyrgyzstan - were detained in Krasnogorsk, again with heroin and hashish that had originated in Afghanistan. In mid-September, two Kyrgyz nationals were arrested on charges of heroin trafficking, while, in a separate incident, a leading member of a large regional organized crime group was detained in Elektrostal on similar charges. Later in the month, five "swallowers" were arrested with a total of 233 hashish-filled "bullets" in their stomachs. One of those arrested was responsible for recruiting drug traffickers operating from Kyrgyzstan to the Russian Federation.
In April 2011, the Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, called the formation of the State Service "critical in combating the interconnected ills of drug trafficking and organized crime". Mr. Fedotov also reaffirmed his Office's continued assistance in tackling illicit drugs in the area and in supporting Kyrgyzstan's policies with regard to the treatment of drug dependence through ethical, health-centred and science-based practices.