More than 380 lb of heroin were confiscated by officers of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) in the Moscow region, service chief Viktor Ivanov told reporters on Friday.
"A total of 174 kilograms (384 lb) of concentrated heroin were confiscated. It is approximately 15 million single doses, which were worth up to $500 million on the market," he said.
Over the past year, up to 410 kilograms (904 lb) of heroin have been confiscated from the criminal group neutralized in this operation, he added,
Six people, including the gang leader, were detained as a result of the police operation in the Domodedovo district outside of Moscow, Ivanov said.
The drugs were smuggled into the Moscow region in banana boxes, which were hidden inside trucks carrying vegetables, he said.
The drug control service's Moscow region branch, for its part, said that the investigation against this gang had lasted for two years. Several people transporting large hauls of drugs for the criminal group were detained in 2013 and 2014.
"The final stage of the operation was marked by the detention of the criminal community's leader, a citizen of Tajikistan, who organized the receipt of heroin, which was then packed in paper envelopes and hidden in banana boxes. The haul had been kept in one of the houses in the village of Kolychevo of the Domodedovo region. Two people were appointed to guard the drugs. The gang leader, one of the people guarding the drugs and a hired driver were detained together with their customer, also a citizen of Tajikistan, at a filling station near Domodedovo airport," it said.
"A total of 174 kilograms of high-quality Central Asian heroin, which contained over 50 percent diacetylmorphine, were confiscated. Six members of the gang were detailed. The seized haul may cost up to $145 million on the wholesale market," it said.
The FSKN branch also said that more than 410 kilograms of heroin had been seized and 16 people had been detained during the inquiry against this criminal group.
According to the Federal Drug Control Service, eight million people suffer from drug addiction in Russia. Of them, 1.5 million use Afghan heroin. Up to 70,000 young people die from drug-related causes in Russia every year.
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