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BISHKEK, May 8 (RFE/RL) - Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security says that a large amount of highly valuable nephrite jade has been impounded in the northern province of Chui. 

Sixteen tons of the stones were seized on May 7. They had reportedly smuggled from Russia and were being prepared for illegally transportation to China.

Kyrgyz investigators evaluated the impounded stones as $9 million.

A group of local citizens, whose names were not made public, have been charged with smuggling.

Investigations are under way.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax

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