Crime

Authorities clamp down on drug gangs operating in Dhi Qar, southern Iraq

Iraq

Iraqi police clamp down on gangs in Dhi Qar (Nasiriya) in southern Iraq who have been trafficking drugs from Iran and the gulf. The drug epidemic has increased especially in the south since the US invasion.

Authorities in Iraq are continuing their fight against drug use in the country’s southern provinces, especially Dhi Qar, as drugs sales and consumption rise amidst weak borders and Iraq’s strategic location as a ‘middle ground’ for trafficking in the region.

Since 2003, the country has become a fertile ground for the movement of illicit substances, such as the amphetamine Captagon, which has resulted in higher drug use among young people especially due to increasing rates of unemployment in the country.

Due to its low price, affect, and ease of use, Captagon is the most widespread drug in Iraq. The drug has also been made, sold and used by ISIS militants during their reign in Iraq and Syria. After the destruction of the oil wells the sale of drugs became the main source of trade.

The south of Iraq, in particular, is considered the epicenter of the problem in the country. Porous borders, the exploitation of the Marshlands, and a security vacuum created by the movement of forces from the South to fight ISIS in the North have all contributed to the rise of drug smuggling into Iraq.

The trafficking of illicit drugs into Iraq has increased drug-related crimes ranging from robbery to murder throughout the provinces.

To cut down on drug trafficking and sales in Iraq, the Iraqi Drug Combating Police organised a sting operation, which led to the arrest of gang members and the seizure of 14,000 Captagon pills in the Ur neighbourhood in Dhi Qar Province.

“The suspect has been arrested in accordance with Article 28 of the Narcotics Act No.50 issued in 2017,” said an official at the Iraqi Drug Combating Police Unit.

After capturing the drugs and drug traffickers, the government units purposefully show the suspects to the media to showcase their efforts to the community and send a message to scare prospect drug dealers and abusers.