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UN: Gangs from Africa, Iran muscle in on SE Asia drugs

BANGKOK - International drug gangs from Africa and Iran are muscling in on Southeast Asia's booming methamphetamine business which has shown a staggering increase and is spreading through the region, the United Nations said in a report on Tuesday.
Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), including amphetamine and methamphetamine, have become the drugs of choice in many parts of Southeast and East Asia since the 1990s, replacing plant-based drugs such as heroin, opium and cannabis, the UN drugs office said.
African crime gangs which used to deal in cocaine and heroin had diversified into ATS trafficking while gangs from Iran had been identified as a significant drug-trafficking threat in the region, it said.
"African groups are involved in trafficking crystalline methamphetamine, ecstasy and heroin into Indonesia, and have used Cambodia as a centre for financial tansactions and for the distribution of illicit drugs to Indonesia," the U.N. office said in a report.
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