Methamphetamine, cannabis, among most common narcotics in Iraq: Interior Ministry
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Cannabis and methamphetamines smuggled in from Iran are among the most widely consumed narcotics in Iraq, the country's Interior Ministry announced on Sunday.
The drugs are imported into the southern provinces of Maysan and Basra from Iran, Colonel Bilal Sobhi, the media director of the ministry's anti-narcotics department, told the INA state news agency.
The narcotics originated in Afghanistan before being smuggled across Iran into Iraq. Afghanistan is well-known as one of the leading cultivators of illegal drugs, especially opium, in the world.
Captagon pills, and other psychoactive substances, are also smuggled into Iraq from Syria, according to Sobhi.
According to the official, smugglers use various illegal and creative ways to smuggle illicit drugs into the country, including hiding them inside car wheels and using drones.
In January alone, at least 1,300 people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the illicit business, which witnessed a surge following the 2003 US-led invasion.
Iraqi security forces have confiscated more than a million Captagon pills, Sobhi added.
Maysan has been plagued by increasingly deadly tribal violence in recent years. An anti-narcotics judge was recently murdered there.
Anyone who deals in or possesses illegal narcotics in Iraq can face imprisonment for 1-3 years and fines, according to Law No. 50 of 2017.
The same law sentences anyone that sets up a place for drug abuse to life imprisonment.