Iran and its proxies in the Middle East are deeply involved in the illegal drug trade, which they rely on for funding, with busts across the IRGC region revealing the involvement of groups like Lebanese Hizbullah and, increasingly, the Houthis.
Hizbullah has a long track record of dealing in illegal drugs, as do Iran-backed Iraqi militias, who smuggle or facilitate the trafficking of various types of narcotics into Iraq from across the borders of both Iran and Syria.
Iraqi security forces on April 30 broke up a drug trafficking ring and seized about 6.2 million Captagon pills from a warehouse in Baghdad, making seven arrests, AFP reported.
Around the same time, Iraqi forces broke up a second drug ring after an individual was arrested “in possession of 6kg of hashish”, while two accomplices also were detained, the national security agency said in a statement.
The 10 accused “admitted to links with international drug trafficking networks”, the agency said.
Iraq’s northwestern neighbour Syria is the Middle East’s main producer of Captagon, an amphetamine type stimulant, which is trafficked across the region.
Cross-border drug trafficking from Iran also continues into Iraq, despite governmental efforts to contain it, Iraqi officials said. Lebanon
The “illegal drug trade is run by armed militias linked to Iran”, said military and strategy analyst Muayyed Salem al-Juhaishi.
“These militias are directly responsible for drug trafficking in Iraq, which currently constitutes one of their biggest sources of funding,” he said.
Most narcotics entering the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq are smuggled in by armed groups backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or its partners, said observers.