Middle East News
UN reports new Iranian connection in methamphetamine traffic
Sep 13, 2011, 10:52 GMT
Bangkok - Iran has become a leading supplier of couriers for the illicit methamphetamine trade in Asia, with growing numbers of citizens getting arrested in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand, a United Nations report said Tuesday.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's 2011 Global ATS Assessment report, Iran in five years became a major producer of crystal methamphetamines and a supplier of 'mules' trafficking the drug to Asia.
'Generally people who have very low economic status have been recruited as mules, and have been arrested in record numbers,' said Gary Lewis, the regional director for the Asia-Pacific.
In Thailand, already a major market for methamphetamines from neighbouring Myanmar, eight Iranian couriers were arrested in 2009 with 27 kilograms of crystalline methamphetamines, which jumped to 79 couriers with 109 kilograms of the drug last year.
In Japan, 86 Iranians were arrested on methamphetamine trafficking charges in 2009, which rose to 150 last year, the report said, while in Malaysia more than 150 Iranians were arrested in the last two years on trafficking charges.
'The cost of a pill of meth in Malaysia is eight times the cost in Tehran, and in Japan and Korea it's higher, so the profit incentive and perception of lower risk is significant,' Lewis said.
In Malaysia, drug trafficking is a capital offence that carries the death penalty.
Lewis noted that Iran is a country with a high population of people already addicted to opiates and heroin.
'The are skills there in terms of producing drugs, and we see a production base there exceeding local demand,' he said.
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