UN: Bulgaria Major Hub of 'Northern Balkan Route' of Heroin

Crime | June 23, 2010, Wednesday // 18:25|  views

Bulgaria is a hub of heroin trafficking to Western Europe, according to the UNODC. Map by UNODC

Bulgaria is mentioned as a major transit link of heroin trafficking in the 2010 World Drug Report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

“The so-called ‘northern Balkan route’ is a relatively recent variant on the Balkan route which transits the Caucasus rather than Turkey. Every year, approximately 9 metric tons of heroin are estimated to be trafficked from the Islamic Republic of Iran along this route. Joining this flow is a smaller volume of about 2 metric tons from Central Asia. In all, 11 metric tons of heroin are estimated to enter the Caucasus. Some 4 metric tons are either consumed or seized. The remainder, around 7,61 metric tons is thought to be trafficked to Europe. Through one branch of this route, an estimated 6 metric tons are shipped from Georgia and then to Europe (Bulgaria) via the Black Sea. A smaller flow of 1 ton also travels through Georgia, but moves northward across the Black Sea to the Ukraine,“ says the 2010 World Drug Report released Wednesday.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime identifies several drug trafficking routes of which Bulgaria is a part, including some running through the Caucasus: Islamic Republic of Iran – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Black Sea – Ukraine and/or Bulgaria; Islamic Republic of Iran – Caspian Sea – Russian Federation/Caucasus – Black Sea – Ukraine and/or Bulgaria.

“Heroin crosses from the Azarbaycan-e-Khavari province of the Islamic Republic of Iran into Turkey and traverses Turkey’s Hakkari and/or Van districts. An estimated 95 mt of heroin are shipped across Turkey’s borders every year,“ says the UN Report adding that Bulgaria is a link in one of those routes: Hakkari/Van – south-eastern cities – central Anatolian cities – Istanbul – Edirne to Bulgaria/Greece.

According to the authors of the report, Iran and Turkey have achieved progress in limiting the flow of heroin from Afghanistan, the world’s largest heroin producer. In contrast, Russia, Central Asia and the Balkan states have failed to achieve progress.

Full Text of the 2010 World Drug Report of the UNODC is available HERE

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Tags: UN, UNODC, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UN report, heroin, Northern Balkan Route, Afghanistan, Iran, turkey


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