Central Asia

The heroin trafficked on the Northern route is exported by land from Afghanistan’s northern borders and appears to be essentially destined for the consumer markets in Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, which have been expanding over the last 10 years. Most consignments cross from Afghanistan into Tajikistan and then are trafficked northwards through Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan before entering Russia. The fact that three of these four Central Asian countries and Russia rank among the top 26 countries seizing the largest quantities of heroin at world level confirms that significant quantities of the opiate are shipped along the Northern route (UNODC, 2014b). A proportion of heroin shipped on the Northern route may eventually enter the EU via the eastern borders of Poland and the Baltic countries. Some heroin seized in Ukraine and Belarus in the last few years was reported to originate from Central Asia and was intended for western European markets. In addition, large amounts have been intercepted on either side of the Ukraine–Poland border, for instance 150 kg was seized in Medyka, Poland, in April 2014.

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