BISHKEK, Dec 28 (RIA Novosti). Two drug couriers carrying heroin capsules in their stomachs have been detained at the airport of Russia’s Siberian city of Novosibirsk, the customs press service said on Tuesday.
The two men, a Kyrgyz and a Tajik, arrived in Novosibirsk from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. The date of their detention was not reported.
“The drug couriers were trying to transport 30 cylindrical containers [with heroin] covered with latex in their stomachs,” the press service said in a statement, adding that the weight of the seized heroin totaled more than 0.3 kg (10 ounces).
The detainees admitted they had been paid $1,000 each to transport the drugs. They face prison terms of up to seven years and fines of up to one million rubles ($32,000) if found guilty of drug trafficking.
Up to 80 tons of heroin – some 20 percent of the world's consumption – flow into Russia from Afghanistan every year via former Soviet Central Asian republics, according to UN estimates.
Afghan drug production skyrocketed since the U.S.-led invasion toppled the ruling Taliban movement in 2001, and Russia has been one of the most affected countries with 30,000-40,000 people dying from drug-related incidents annually, official statistics show.
Earlier this year, seven couriers with their stomachs stuffed with drug-laden capsules were detained by the Siberian Operative Customs services at an airport in the city of Krasnoyarsk, the customs press service said.
In a separate incident on Monday, a woman carrying more than six kilograms (13 pounds), or some 105,000 doses of heroin in her luggage, was detained in a train in Russia’s Samara region bordering Kazakhstan.