Drug trafficking routes through Azerbaijani territory revealed; Deputy Minister: The growth rate in the illicit drug trafficking over the last few years is related to both foreign and interior factors

Baku: “As a result of the successful operations carried out over the past years, the government ramped up efforts in the fight against the illicit drug trafficking in the country,” Azerbaijan’s Deputy Minister of National Security Ali Shafiyev said in his speech during an international conference titled “Protection of children and women suffering from drug addiction in society and family”.

According to the deputy minister, combating organized crimes is a priority issue for Azerbaijan, a country with a favorable geo-strategic position and economic development: “Uniting efforts in the fight against drug smuggling and transit transportation in this respect is of special importance. Over the last few years, the geographical spread of narcotics and the contingent they cover has significantly expanded, the number of women and children among those suffering from drug addiction increased in comparison with previous years. The miserable situation calls for urgent and immediate actions throughout the world as well as in our country”.

The deputy minister said the Ministry of Security seized 25 narcotic drugs in 2004, and this figure reached 1.183 tonnes in 2010.

“It was revealed that transnational organized crimes are smuggling drugs through Iran-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh-Iran-Azerbaijan, Iran-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Europe, several groups and individuals have already been brought to justice,” he said.

Shafiyey said drug addiction is seen as a heavy blow to our gene pool, stressing consistent fight against it. “We believe that this terrible attack should worry not only government agencies, but also non-governmental organizations and the public. This struggle must be waged not only by administrative methods. It must become a work of everyone, regardless of position or status. Threats posed by drug abuse, should be fully assessed, and the fight against drug abuse should be coordinated”.

He also mentioned that in most cases, one of the main reasons for young people suffering from this problem is related with the lack of support of their families and society.

“It is necessary to take appropriate measures for legal protection of children, young people and women, the victims of criminal gangs and persons, including treatment for their rehabilitation,” he said.

The deputy minister said the recent growth rate in drug trafficking in Azerbaijan is related both to external and internal factors.

“One of the main external factors is the threats posed to our national security by Armenia which keeps twenty percent of Azerbaijani territories under its occupation violating norms and principles of the international law. Armenia turning Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories into uncontrolled area is leading to expanding transnational organized crime, including drug cultivation and drug trafficking.

Another important external factor which creates conditions for drug trafficking is geostrategic position of Azerbaijan, which is located at the crossroads of east-west and north-south transport corridors. Both this position and significant regional projects and multilateral integration trends implemented by our country involve criminal organizations in the region,” he said.