08ASTANA665, KAZAKHSTAN: RECORD DRUG SEIZURE ON BORDER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA665 2008-04-02 04:47 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0796
PP RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHTA #0665 0930447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020447Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2159
RUCNCLS/SCA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ASTANA 000665 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL (BALABANIAN), SCA/CEN (OMARA), SCA/RA; 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM KCOR PREL KZ
 
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: RECORD DRUG SEIZURE ON BORDER 
 
 
1.  Summary:  On the morning of March 27, the Customs Service of 
Kazakhstan seized 537 kilos of heroin,  the largest single seizure 
ever recorded in the country.  This single seizure is also larger 
than the total amount of heroin seized in Kazakhstan last year.  The 
drugs were seized at the Kairak border checkpoint on the 
Kazakhstani-Russian border and were discovered using a stationary 
X-ray machine.  Two Russian citizens were arrested in connection 
with the seizure.  End Summary. 
 
2.  Five hundred thirty-seven kilos of heroin were seized at the 
Kairak customs checkpoint, located 180 kilometers from Kostanai city 
in the Kostanaiskaya oblast (northern Kazakhstan) on the border with 
Russia.  Nurlan Alimbekov, Head of the Division on Combating 
Contraband of the Customs Control Committee of the Ministry of 
Finance reported that the drugs originated in Afghanistan.  The 
heroin was hidden under a false bottom of a Volvo refrigerated truck 
with Russian license plates.  The truck was traveling from 
Uzbekistan through Kazakhstan.  The drugs were only discovered as 
the truck departed Kazakhstan for Russia.  A stationary TC-Scan 
x-ray machine was used to detect the truck's false bottom and the 
presence of a foreign cargo.  The drugs were packed in 28 bags.  The 
dealers decided to leave the truck empty -- expecting that would 
ensure the truck would not draw suspicion -- except for the 28 
packets of heroin hidden under the false bottom.  Two drivers in the 
truck were detained.  The Customs Control Committee reported that 
the truck had previously transited Kazakhstan from Russia to 
Uzbekistan with a load of bananas.  Traffic through the Kairak 
automobile checkpoint was last reported as 70,000 people and 20,000 
vehicles in July 2007. 
 
3.  The seized packets had stamps in Arabic characters and contained 
high-quality, pure heroin.  The wholesale value of the seized drugs 
is over $22 million and the quantity could be broken down into 3.5 
million individual doses.  Kairat Baranshinov, Deputy Head of the 
Department of Customs Control of Kostanaiskaya oblast, stated the 
drugs would sell for twice the wholesale value in Russia and if they 
were transported and sold in Europe they would sell for five times 
the wholesale value there.  The total amount of heroin seized by all 
Kazakhstani law enforcement services last year was 522 kilos -- less 
than this single seizure by 15 kilos. 
 
4.  The Customs Control Department of Kostanaiskaya oblast has 
brought criminal cases against the two drivers.  Further 
investigation will be conducted to determine the final destination 
of the drugs.  The Procurator General's Office must still determine 
whether the investigative jurisdiction for this case will be the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Committee for National Security. 
 The two drivers, both citizens of Russia, could be sentenced to 10 
to 15 years in prison under article 250 of the Criminal Code for 
crossing the border with undeclared narcotic substances as part of 
an organized criminal group. 
 
ORDWAY

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