ISLAMABAD, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani customs in a joint action with Afghan customs authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle tonnes of iodine, which can be used for the synthesis of drugs, an official said on Friday.
Pakistan Customs Port Control Unit in the country's southern port city of Karachi has conducted the operation with Afghan customs officials on credible information that a container en route to Afghanistan from the United Arab Emirates through Pakistan, carried a huge quantity of contraband, an official from Pakistan customs told Xinhua.
The official said after the container was identified as having suspicious profiling, Pakistani customs officials immediately informed the Afghan authorities, adding that acting upon it, Afghan customs in coordination with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) seized the iodine.
The seized iodine could be used to produce a large amount of synthetic drug namely methamphetamine, and according to the UNODC survey report, the methamphetamine that could be manufactured through the seized iodine has an international market value of about 546 million U.S. dollars, local TV channel Dawn said.
The en route movement was closely monitored from Karachi to Torkham border with Afghanistan by Pakistan Customs to avoid any en route pilferage, said Pakistan Customs in an official statement.
"This unprecedented operation has successfully averted the illicit movement of 546 million U.S. dollars from going into the hands of criminal syndicates. The seizure has immense international impact and shows Pakistan's commitment with the charter of FATF (Financial Action Task Force)," the statement added.