Kurdistan security arrest 2 Iranians smuggling drugs as Christmas gifts
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Security forces (Asayish) in the autonomous Kurdistan Region detained two Iranian nationals in Erbil on Monday who attempted to smuggle drugs into the country.
According to a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Anti-Drug Directorate, the suspects had disguised the narcotics as Christmas gifts and were trying to traffic them to Canada.
The identities of the two Iranians were not revealed. However, the statement said the two were “sent to court to receive punishment,” and that an investigation was underway.
The sale and consumption of any narcotics are strictly forbidden in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Kurdish and Iraqi authorities often intercept shipments of drugs passing through Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, mainly in the provinces of Basra, Diyala, Erbil, and Sulaimani, specifically in the towns and villages connecting the country with Iran and Turkey.
Most of the drugs are smuggled into the region via the border with Iran on their way to Turkey, Syria, and ultimately, Europe and North America.
In late July, the Asayish announced they had arrested 651 suspected drug dealers and consumers in the first six months of 2019.
Local activists and authorities have also warned of the rise in drug consumption and trafficking within the country itself; however, there are no official statistics on the number of people arrested on drug-related charges, nor are there any statistics on the total number of users in Iraq in general.