Iraq battles illicit drug networks facilitated by IRGC, militias

Since routing the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), Iraq has focused its attention on a new battleground — drug trafficking and smuggling networks facilitated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps IRGC militias.

The effort to remove the scourge of drugs from Iraq has involved hundreds of arrests, raids and border security crackdowns, which have resulted in the seizure of huge quantities of various types of illicit narcotics, Iraqi officials said.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 5,300 people involved in drug trafficking were arrested and four million Captagon pills and 100kg of other narcotic substances were confiscated between January 1 and April 30 alone.

The ministry’s General Directorate of Narcotics Control announced the arrest of “hundreds” in drug-related raids in May. IRGC militias

On May 1, the Iraqi National Security Service said it had dismantled two international drug trafficking networks comprised of Iraqi and foreign nationals.

A seven-member group, which included three Iraqi nationals, confessed to taking part in drug smuggling operations and provided details of its activity.

This led to the seizure of a large narcotics storage facility near Baghdad, where 6.2 million narcotic pills were stored, the security service said.

Members of the second network — two Iraqis and another whose nationality was not revealed — were arrested while carrying 6kg of hashish, it added.

‘Deadly and destructive’

“The drug trade is a deadly and destructive crime for society and is no less dangerous than terrorist crimes,” said an Iraqi security source who asked to remain anonymous.

“There are co-ordinated security action and redoubled efforts to eradicate it and rid the country of this danger,” he told Al-Mashareq.

Security efforts are accompanied by public awareness campaigns, and there is an established hotline (178) for reporting any drug-related activity, he said.

Narcotic and psychotropic abuse and trafficking are on the rise among Iraqi youth, particularly those between the age of 18 and 30, he said.

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