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TASHKENT, October 11 (TCA) — The Uzbek Interior Ministry and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) signed a memorandum of cooperation in countering drug trafficking and the spread of drug abuse in Tashkent, Interfax reported.

The document signed today after Uzbek Deputy Interior Minister Adkham Akhmedbaev held talks with the DEA's visiting Middle East and Central Asia Regional Director Mark Destito.

According to the Interfax, “the sides underscored the importance and the need of joint efforts in the fight against drug dealing and the spread of drug abuse. They expressed confidence that the signing of this document will help strengthen productive cooperation in tackling key drug-related problems and open up new prospects for further cooperation in these issues and counter-crime measures in general.”

According to Uzbekistan's National Drug Control Information Center, almost 5,500 kilograms of drugs were impounded in Uzbekistan last year, which is almost 800 kilograms more than in 2010.

Uzbek officials say drugs produced in neighboring Afghanistan are being illegally transported to Russia and onward to the West via Central Asian countries.

A total of 107 foreign citizens were detained in Uzbekistan last year on suspicion of committing drug-related crimes.

With reporting from Interfax and RFE/RL


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