Tajik drug smuggler sentenced to 20 years in jail

A Tajik court has sentenced a drug ringleader to 20 years in a high security prison, officials said Monday. Saidkobir Sharipov was accused of controlling the traffic of drugs from Afghanistan in the Farkhor and Shuroabad sections of the border and smuggling them to other ex-Soviet republics, Tajikistan's Security Ministry said.

Sharipov was arrested in Afghanistan on July 2 in a joint operation by Tajik and Afghan law enforcement agencies, it said.

The ministry said two of Sharipov's accomplices, including an officer of the Drug Control Agency in the southern town of Kulyab, had been convicted along with him, getting 20 and 19 years in jail respectively.

It didn't say when the trial was held. Tajikistan, an impoverished ex-Soviet nation, lies on a major transit route used to smuggle illegal Afghan drugs to Russia and further into Europe, reports the AP. I.L.

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