Pakistan seizes 1.83 tonnes of morphine, weapons

Quetta, December 17, 2004 - Pakistani authorities seized 1.83 tons of morphine worth millions of dollars and a large quantity of arms from a remote southwestern village near the Afghan border, police said on Friday.

The drugs and arms, including rocket launchers, mortars, anti-aircraft shells and grenades were found in a house near the town of Chaghi in Baluchistan province near the Afghan border, Colonel Rizwan Malik told reporters.

Malik said the weapons were probably destined for Baluch nationalists fighting for greater autonomy from the central government, while the morphine, refined from opium in southern Afghanistan, was probably destined for Gulf countries and Europe.

Officials say a ton of morphine is worth about $10 million in the international market. Malik said the raid was carried out on a tip-off and no arrests were made as the house had been abandoned.

Most illegal drugs seized in Pakistan come from Afghanistan, the world's leading source of opium and heroin. Chaghi is about 300 km (185 miles) west of Quetta, capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province. A week ago, a powerful bomb exploded next to an army truck in Quetta, killing 11 people and injuring 27. The Baluch Liberation Army, a shadowy nationalist group, claimed responsibility.