West News Wire: Iraqi security authorities confiscated over six million pills of Captagon, an amphetamine-like stimulant, making multiple arrests and busting a drug trafficking network.
The national security service stated in a statement on Saturday that “about 6.2 million tablets” were discovered in a warehouse southwest of Baghdad, Iraq’s capital.
According to the agency, three Iraqi nationals and four suspects from other Arab nations were arrested in connection with the drug trafficking network, with the substances slated for distribution “in parts of Baghdad and other provinces.”
Security forces also broke up a second drug ring when three men were arrested with six kilogrammes (13 pounds) of hashish.
All 10 suspects “admitted to links with international drug trafficking networks”, the agency said.
Drug trafficking convictions can be punishable by the death penalty in Iraq.
Captagon was the trade name of a drug initially patented in Germany in the early 1960s that contained an amphetamine-type stimulant called fenethylline used to treat attention deficit and narcolepsy among other conditions.
Abuse of fenethylline of the brand name Captagon is common in the Middle East and counterfeit versions of the drug continue to be available despite its illegality.
The drug was later banned and became an illicit substance almost exclusively produced and consumed in the Middle East and is close to what is known in other countries as “speed”.
Syria is the Middle East’s main Captagon producer and Saudi Arabia the main consumer market.
In April 2021, Saudi customs authorities in Jeddah port foiled an attempt to smuggle in more than 5.3 million Captagon pills, which were hidden in pomegranate shipments from Lebanon.
The sale and use of drugs in Iraq has soared in recent years. Security forces have stepped up operations and make almost daily announcements of seizures or arrests.
In the first three months of this year, more than three million Captagon pills were seized by Iraqi authorities.