2.79 tons of liquid heroin, seized by the police last week, came from Afghanistan via Iran and Azerbaijan and was intended for further trafficking into Europe, Georgian Interior Minister, Aleksandre Tchikaidze, said on July 14.
93 thirty-liter plastic barrels filled with liquid heroin were seized from a cargo truck in what was the biggest ever single drug hauls in Georgia, according to the Interior Ministry, which said that two Georgian citizens were arrested.
Tchikaidze said that the seizure was a result of “several months of work”.
“This is unprecedented; I think not many interior ministers can boast with seizure of such amount [of drugs],” he added.
The previous largest drug seizure recorded in Georgia was in July, 2013, when 116kg of heroin was found in a truck, which entered into Georgia from Armenia.
PM Irakli Garibashvili, who was the interior minister at the time, said on July 14 at a government session that last year’s seizure of 116k of heroin was a record of that time. “Now Lexo [referring to Interior Minister Alexandre Tchikaidze] broke a record,” the PM said.
Garibashvili also said that this recent seizure demonstrated the Georgian government’s will for “uncompromising struggle against drug” trafficking.
“It strengthens our country and contributes to strengthening of image of our country,” he added.
Georgia is a transit and destination country for illicit drugs produced in other countries, according to the recent International Narcotics Control Strategy Report by the U.S. Department of State, which covers developments of 2013.
“The most significant route runs from Afghanistan and Iran through Azerbaijan and Georgia, to destinations in Western Europe, Turkey, and Russia. International-bound trucks and cars sometimes carry narcotics on this route, transiting Georgia before traveling to Turkey or Russia, or moving to Ukraine, Moldova, or Bulgaria on Black Sea ferries,” reads the report.
According to this report, in 2013 strengthened border security measures and more proactive approach to investigations and inspection “led to a dramatic increase in drug seizures.”
“These seizures demonstrated the increasingly high priority placed on narcotics interdiction by the current Georgian government, which came to power after parliamentary elections in October 2012. Total drug seizures in previous recent years were nominal (seizures in 2011 and 2012 totaled less than a kilogram each of heroin, marijuana, and synthetic drugs),” reads the report.