Kuwaiti coastguards have killed an Iranian drug smuggler and seized a record 1,536 kilograms (3,379 pounds) of hashish, newspapers reported Wednesday.
A shoot-out in which three coastguards were also wounded took place Tuesday near Qaruh Island, 22 kilometers (14 miles) off southeast Kuwait, after a chase, Al-Rai Al-Aam said.
Six other Iranian smugglers and their Kuwaiti agent were arrested.
Acting on a tip-off, four coastguard patrols chased the smugglers' wooden boat as soon as it entered Kuwaiti waters. The smugglers opened fire with a sub-machine-gun in an attempt to flee but were overpowered by the security forces.
Kuwaiti coastguards have this year intercepted a number of major smuggling attempts, the biggest of which previously was the seizure of 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) of hashish in May.
Police said Sunday they had arrested 1,500 suspected drug dealers and seized 1,551 kilograms (3,412 pounds) of narcotics over the past year, in a crackdown on the growing drugs problem in the emirate.
More than 900 of the dealers arrested have been Kuwaiti, while 190 were Iranians, 100 Pakistanis, 80 stateless Arabs, or bidoon, and the rest of other nationalities, the police said.
Kuwait's major difficulty remains the 290-kilometer (180-mile) coastline facing Iran, a key transit country for drugs, despite the signing in October by the emirate and Iran of an agreement to combat drugs and terrorism.
The Gulf emirate imposes the death penalty on those convicted of drug smuggling, and the criminal court has sentenced 15 dealers to death in the last two months -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)