Heroin Smugling - xc everyday

Ben Keayes - 06/03/2007

I'll stop now - but the Times-online has loads of paragliding 'news' some rather amusing...


Paragliding heroin smuggler shot down
By Michael Evans, Defence Editor

FOR three years guards patrolling one of the world’s remotest borders have been tormented by a man who must rate as one of the world’s most enterprising smugglers.
At first they thought that the lone paraglider must be innocently enjoying his sport in an area where the wind conditions and topography are particularly suited to the sport. But the area is also renowned as a channel for the world’s heroin trade and the glider’s frequent cross-border trips soon aroused suspicion.

Yesterday, when he crossed the ranges that divide Afghanistan from Tajikistan, his canopy was brought crashing to earth in a hail of machinegun bullets. In the wreckage 18kg of heroin was discovered, although by the time the Tajik guards were able to retrieve it the smuggler had run off into the mountains.

Sabza Sarkorov, the deputy head of the Tajik border guards, said that the paraglider had probably been injured. An investigation is under way.

Afghanistan is still the world’s biggest producer of opium, the base for heroin. Despite numerous schemes by the Afghan Government and the international community to force or persuade the poppy farmers to choose alternative livelihoods, it remains the most lucrative crop.

Paragliding is a popular sport in Tajikistan, where the topography is similar to that of the Himalayas. But this is thought to be the first instance of a paraglider regularly transporting contraband.


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