Afghan police find huge opium stash in Helmand

Afghan police men­tored by British troops have dis­cov­ered an opi­um stash worth mil­lions of pounds, along with insur­gent weapons, dur­ing an arrest oper­a­tion in Hel­mand province.

The wet opi­um and weapons dis­cov­ered at an address in Gereshk, in the north­ern part of Nahr‑e Saraj dis­trict in Hel­mand province [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces (ANSF) swooped on the address of a man sus­pect­ed of ille­gal­ly sell­ing gov­ern­ment-owned land in the bustling town of Gereshk, in the north­ern part of Nahr‑e Saraj district. 

Inside, the police and their British part­ners from 1st Bat­tal­ion The Princess of Wales’s Roy­al Reg­i­ment (1 PWRR) found sev­er­al bags of wet opium. 

The Afghan counter-nar­cotics team were called in, and on fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion the police found a room hid­den under a trap­door — with dozens more bags of the drug hid­den away underneath. 

The total haul weighed in at more than 175kg of wet opi­um — the first stage of pro­cess­ing pop­py to make heroin. 

The team also found two machine guns, a rock­et-pro­pelled grenade launch­er, and sev­er­al AK-47 rifles, along with two pis­tols, pos­si­ble com­po­nents for impro­vised explo­sive devices, and imi­ta­tion ANSF uniforms. 

The sus­pect will now face pros­e­cu­tion under the Afghan jus­tice system. 

The British advi­sors on the oper­a­tion were part of the Police Men­tor­ing and Advi­so­ry Group (PMAG), which is led by 1 PWRR. A 15-man Police Advi­so­ry Team works at each Afghan police head­quar­ters across Task Force Hel­mand to men­tor the police. 

Lieu­tenant Paul Charlesworth, 1 PWRR, com­mands the advi­so­ry team at Gereshk. He said: 

“Once we got to the com­pound we quick­ly realised this was a real­ly sig­nif­i­cant find. We start­ed to see all the weapons com­ing out, all the ammu­ni­tion, the ANSF uni­forms, and then the opi­um, and called in the provin­cial-lev­el counter-nar­cotics team. 

“This is the largest drugs find that I’ve ever been involved in, and the biggest that ISAF forces have been involved in since we arrived in September.” 

Cor­po­ral Lucas Allan, of the Roy­al Mil­i­tary Police, was at the scene to help guide the Afghan police on gath­er­ing intel­li­gence. He said: 

“We encour­age them to try to do the job them­selves, but with guid­ance on the cor­rect way of car­ry­ing it out. We’re try­ing to empha­sise the impor­tance of evi­dence because that and wit­ness­es are the two most vital parts to an investigation. 

“In this case the job was to make sure it was cor­rect­ly sep­a­rat­ed and account­ed for, not just at the scene, but for onward move­ment to oth­er loca­tions and for han­dover to rel­e­vant authorities.” 

Cap­tain Stu­art Bark­er, 3rd Bat­tal­ion The Princess of Wales’s Roy­al Reg­i­ment, said: 

“This is a vic­to­ry for joined-up police work, because this sin­gle oper­a­tion involved the PMAG, the spe­cial­ist Police Advi­so­ry Team, the Afghan police, and the counter-nar­cotics police. 

“It shows how work­ing togeth­er can pro­duce a real­ly sig­nif­i­cant find which demon­strates the clear con­nec­tion between the drugs trade and vio­lence and insecurity.” 

Lieu­tenant Colonel James Coote is the Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of 1 PWRR and the PMAG. He said: 

“This was a sig­nif­i­cant oper­a­tion, both in terms of the weapons cap­tured and the drugs seized. It is impor­tant to note that this was an Afghan police oper­a­tion from start to fin­ish and it is fur­ther evi­dence of the police’s abil­i­ty to oper­ate and enforce the Afghan law.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →