Iranian authorities said 526 people have been arrested in Iran's Khorasan province, charged with drug trafficking and other offences, the official IRNA agency reported.
The arrests were made "in southern and eastern parts of this northeastern province over the past few days," IRNA quoted Khorasan Chief Justice, Ali Akbar Yasai.
"Drug trade from Afghanistan is the major cause of insecurity along the country's eastern border," Yasai added.
Iranian law decrees the death penalty for anyone possessing more than five kilograms (11 pounds) of opium or 30 grams (one ounce) of heroin.
The country is a known-transit point for drugs, coming from producer countries such as Pakistan and, more importantly, Afghanistan, destined for markets in the Gulf, Europe and Central Asia.
Twenty-three tons of drugs will be destroyed Sunday in Teheran in a ceremony to mark International day against drug abuse, in the presence of Iranians drug-control officials and representatives from the United Nations Drug Control Program.
Iranian police announced Saturday they had seized a record of 60 tons of drugs in the three last months, as drug abuse is known to be spreading rapidly in Iran.
According to official figures, 70 percent of the 150,000 inmates of Iranian prisons are being held for drug related offenses.
Over 200 tons of opium, or derivatives, are seized by Iranian security forces every year – TEHRAN (AFP)
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