Iraqi police seize more than 6 million Captagon amphetamine pills | news

Syria is the main producer of the drug Captagon in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia is the main consumer market.

Iraqi security forces seized more than six million pills of the amphetamine-type stimulant Captagon, leading to several arrests and dismantling a drug trafficking ring.

“Around 6.2 million pills” were discovered in a warehouse in the southwest of the capital Baghdad, the national security agency said in a statement on Saturday.

Three Iraqi nationals and four suspects from other Arab countries have been arrested in connection with the smuggling network, the agency said, adding that the drugs were destined for distribution “in areas of Baghdad and other provinces.”

Security forces also broke up a second drug ring when three men with six kilograms of hash were arrested.

All 10 suspects “admitted links to international drug trafficking networks,” the agency said.

Drug trafficking convictions carry the death penalty in Iraq.

Captagon was the trade name of a drug first patented in Germany in the early 1960s that contained an amphetamine-like stimulant called fenethylline, which was used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy, among other things.

The drug was later banned and became an illicit substance produced and consumed almost exclusively in the Middle East, close to what is known as “speed” in other countries.

Syria is the main producer of Captagon in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia is the main consumer market.

Saudi customs officer opens up imported pomegranates as customs thwarted an attempt to smuggle more than five million Captagon pills in 2021 [File photo: Saudi Press Agency/AP]

In April 2021, Saudi customs at the port of Jeddah thwarted an attempt to smuggle in more than 5.3 million Captagon pills hidden in shipments of pomegranates from Lebanon.

The drug spree led to Saudi Arabia suspending fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon, claiming supplies were being used to smuggle drugs and accusing Beirut of inaction.

Then, in June last year, Saudi Arabian customs foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 4.5 million Captagon pills hidden in a shipment of oranges from an undisclosed country, and another 14.4 million pills were hidden in discovered in a shipment of iron plates from Lebanon.

The sale and use of drugs in Iraq has increased significantly in recent years. The security forces have stepped up their operations and report seizures or arrests almost daily.

In the first three months of this year, more than three million Captagon pills were seized by Iraqi authorities.

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