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Illegal drug trafficking keeps growing in Russia
Illegal drug trafficking keeps growing in Russia, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told the State Duma deputies. "According to experts, there are 4 million drug addicts in Russia," Mr. Nurgaliyev said. He is concerned about the growing number of drug addicts among women and teenagers. In his words, 248,000 crimes connected to illegal drug trafficking were registered in January-September 2004. Over 60% of crimes and 80% of administrative offences were detected by the Interior Ministry's officers, he added. In the same period of 2003, 220,000 drug crimes were registered, Rashid Nurgaliyev noted. According to him, 62 Interior Ministry's officers involved in drug dealing were revealed in 2004, with 37 of them being found by the Interior Ministry. The Interior Ministry's security department closely cooperates with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), he stressed. Mr. Nurgaliyev does not support the idea of introducing death penalty for drug crimes. "From the Interior Ministry's point of view, death penalty is an exaggerated measure," the minister said. In compliance with the current laws, imprisonment is used not only to punish but also to cure people and bring them back to normal life, Rashid Nurgaliyev emphasized. He suggested that businessmen should participate in financing of anti-drug programs. "We should launch special preventive programs but they require investments and may yield results in a few years," the minister noted. "Therefore, businessmen may be attracted in financing anti-drug and preventive measures," Mr. Nurgaliyev said. In his opinion, the legislation in this sphere should be amended. It is necessary to introduce new norms of criminal, administrative, procedural and other legislations. According to acting head of the Russian federal drug control service Alexander Fyodorov, the volume of seized drugs has been considered increased in Russia. In January-November 2004 2.9 tons of heroin were seized on Russian territory, while in 2003 only 1.4 tons of this drug were seized, he reported. "Prices on all drugs started growing in the beginning of 2004 and the volume of drugs for sale is being considerably reduced," Mr. Fyodorov stressed. "The Russian federal drug control service is boosting efforts to undermine the financial basis of drug business, however, cooperation between a number of states is needed for effective fight against drug trafficking," he said.
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