DUSHANBE, April 22, 2011, Asia-Plus -- An attempt of trafficking in more than 5 tons of sulfuric acid has been prevented in the northern Sughd province.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 150 large cans containing totaling 5.2 tons of sulfuric acid were found in the house of 83-year-old resident of the village of Patar in Konibodom district on April 20.

“The preliminary investigation has established that the found sulfuric acid belongs to two residents of the Patar village,” the source said, noting that criminal proceedings have been instituted and an investigation is under way.

It is to be noted that it is not the first case of detention of a large amount of illegal sulfuric acid in northern Tajikistan.  As it had been reported earlier, officers from the Customs Service’s office for Sughd province prevented an attempt of smuggling 7.228 tons of sulfuric acid into Tajikistan on March 10.

Tajik law enforcement officers note that sulfuric acid is listed as a precursor used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid.  Its historical name is vitriol and it is soluble in water at all concentrations.  Sulfuric acid has many applications, and is a central substance in the chemical industry.  Principal uses include lead-acid batteries for cars and other vehicles, ore processing, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing, and chemical synthesis.

International commerce of sulfuric acid is controlled under the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, which lists sulfuric acid under Table II of the convention as a chemical frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.