Kuwaiti 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 drug problem in the emirate.
More than 900 of the dealers arrested were Kuwaiti, while 190 were Iranians, 100 Pakistanis, 80 stateless Arabs, or beduin, and the rest of other nationalities, the police said in a report carried by Al-Qabas newspaper.
Authorities also seized 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of heroin, 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of hashish, 26 kilograms (57.2 pounds) of opium, and 115,000 pills, in addition to 35,000 bottles of liquor.
The crackdown was launched in October 1999 and instigated by Kuwait's Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled al-Sabah.
The Gulf emirate is in the grip of a drug menace, which in 1999 resulted in the death of 57 people from an overdose of drugs, compared to 28 in 1998 and 47 in 1997.
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 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.
But drug abuse has increased in the oil-rich Gulf state and more than half of the cases that come before judges concern drugs, according to official statistics -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)