Switzerland's border guards had a busy year in 2000: drug seizures increased significantly over 1999. The number of people trying to enter the country illegally also rose slightly.This content was published on January 15, 2001 - 13:16
Figures released on Monday showed a large increase in the amount of drugs seized along Switzerland's border, with so-called soft and designer drugs accounting for most of the rise.
Seizures of cannabis were up by more than 450 per cent, with over a tonne confiscated by the border services. Border guards also intercepted 1.2 tonnes of qat - a narcotic common in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa - more than double the amount seized in 1999.
Large quantities of psychotropic substances such as LSD, amphetamines and ecstasy were also impounded - 109,000 doses compared to 32,000 in 1999. The authorities say this reflects a growth in demand for these drugs.
By contrast, seizures of cocaine remained the same, and the quantity of heroin being smuggled dropped slightly compared to the previous year.
Swiss border guards turned away some 109,518 people, a slight increase on the previous year. Most were refused entry because of they did not have valid identity papers or a visa.
The frontier police detained 5,500 people attempting to enter the country illegally. A third of those arrested were travelling on passports which had been tampered with.
The border guards also handed over 4,804 people to the police. Their crimes ranged from failing to pay fines to theft and murder.
Switzerland's 1881 kilometre border is monitored by 1,900 personnel, with 104 fixed border posts and 34 mobile units.
swissinfo with agencies
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