A Coquitlam man is facing three years in prison following an investigation into an international opium operation run out of Germany.
The case started when a German man was arrested for drug trafficking in February 2017. However, before his arrest, Hamid Nemati Shirazi had mailed a package to Coquitlam, according to a release issued by RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Arash Seyed.
After being tipped off by German police that the package might contain opium, RCMP officers and the Canada Border Services Agency intercepted the parcel in Toronto.
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The package contained two kilograms of opium hidden in a subwoofer box, according to Seyed.
After investigating the package’s intended recipient, police arrested Coquitlam resident Hamid Modrek Najafabadi on Feb. 14, 2017.
Police searched Najafabadi’s home and found: “four hollowed out water pumps that were consistent with previous opium shipments linked to earlier investigations,” according to Seyed.
Najafabadi was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, and importing a controlled substance. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on April 29.
A German court sentenced his suspected counterpart to 5 and a half years in prison, according to the release.
In 2021, Afghanistan had the potential to produce between 390 and 650 tons of export quality heroin, according to a report from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. While the gross value of Afghanistan’s opiates is estimated at between $1.8 and $2.7 billion, the high yield may have saturated the opium market, according to the UNODC report.
Due in part to the precarious economy, as much as 97 percent of the population of Afghanistan is at risk of sinking below the poverty line, the report stated.
“The cultivation of opium poppy is driven by many socioeconomic and security-related factors, including multi-dimensional poverty, lack of licit economic opportunities, and limited access to markets,” the report stated.
Most of Europe is supplied with Afghan opiates through Iran, Turkey and South-Eastern Europe. This route is: “the most important conduit for heroin trafficking,” according to UNODC.