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Iran executes drug-trafficking ringleader


Iran has dismantled an international drug-trafficking ring and executed its leader nicknamed the “Crocodile of the Persian Gulf” along with an accomplice, semi-official news agency ISNA said Saturday.

“The ‘Crocodile’ was operating under different guises and aliases and was arrested while transferring more than 100 tonnes of drugs over international waters,” Hormozgan province chief prosecutor Ali Salehi was quoted as saying.

“Intelligence operations were ongoing for four to five years to arrest the 36-year-old… he led one of the biggest and most vicious drug-trafficking networks in Iran and the region,” he added.

Salehi only identified the ringleader by the initials “A.Z.” and his accomplice as “M.H.”.

The convicted leader had smuggled more than 400 tonnes of drugs into Iran and laundered 20 trillion rials ($147.3 million) into the country’s real estate sector, the prosecutor said.

“The other members of this trafficking ring were sentenced to a total of 420 years and fined 21 billion rials ($154,753).”

The judiciary’s Mizan Online website said there were 18 other convictions in the case.

Iran does not publish official statistics on the number of people it executes, but Amnesty International says there were at least 253 in 2018.

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