Bulgaria opens center on Balkan drug routes

SOFIA, Jan 15, 2000 -- (Reuters) Bulgaria on Friday opened the first office under a U.N.-European Union project to fight drug trafficking through the so-called Balkan route.

"The main function of this national center for combating drug trafficking, the first one opened in the Balkans, is to collect, process and analyze information," said Kiril Radev, chief of the National Service for Combating Organized Crime.

The well-equipped centre is a part of a $7.6 million project under U.N.-EU auspices and involving Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia. It will cooperate with other Balkan and west European countries as well as Interpol.

Bulgaria lies between Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Yugoslavia and Romania. Customs officials say 261 kg (575 pounds) of heroin were seized last year, coming usually from the Middle East.

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