2008-06-25 11:00:31 GMT 2008-06-25 19:00:31 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
URUMQI, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Heroin has been hidden in very fine plastic tubes woven into Afghan wool carpets and cannabis has been concealed among layers of plywood, just one of the many creative new methods international drug traffickers are using to ply their illegal trade, according to Chinese police.
"We found 47.85 kilograms of heroin in a batch of 100 hand-made carpets shipped from Kabul in March this year. Such a ploy is a novelty in China," said Kurati, deputy director of the Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau in Urumqi, Xinjiang's regional capital.
The carpets, sent through an international shipping company, were sent to a consignee named AMINA in Urumqi, who turned out to be an Afghan drug dealer. The man and six Chinese accomplices were apprehended by police.
In another big drug trafficking case, police found 67.5 kg of heroin and 4,848 kg of cannabis embedded in 310 imported plywood boards. The shipper, an Afghan businessman detained by police at the Beijing Capital Airport, was found to be a veteran drug dealer.
"Such a large volume of drug trafficking at once is unprecedented," said Zhu Yingliang, head of the anti-smuggling squadron with the public security bureau in Urumqi.
Xinjiang, with numerous entry points bordering the Golden Crescent, has been identified by international drug dealers as a prime trade route, said Zhu.
The Golden Crescent encompasses Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, whose mountain peripheries define the crescent. The region has emerged as one of the world's two biggest sources of opium, which, for several years, even surpassed the infamous Golden Triangle.
Days ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on Thursday, the Urumqi police announced a publicity campaign against drug abuse by showcasing major cases that they had uncovered.
Anti-smuggling police in Xinjiang have uncovered 34 major cases in which drugs were shipped from the Golden Crescent over the past three years, accounting for 75 percent of such cases in China, according to the regional public security department.
"Drug trafficking via Xinjiang has progressed from small amounts carried by human traffickers to shipments hidden in container cargoes," said Jin Peng, commander of the anti-smuggling squadron of the department in an interview with Xinhua.
Xinjiang police arrested 69 suspects in the Golden Crescent drug trafficking cases, 40 of whom were foreigners, mainly from Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
"In addition to drug dealers from the Middle East, we found that many chieftains from European, American and African countries have been involved in drug trafficking on the trade route via Xinjiang," said Jin.