Iraq's National Security Agency seizes over 1.4 million narcotic pills concealed in fabric rolls

Iraq's National Security Agency seizes over 1.4 million narcotic pills concealed in fabric rolls
An Iraqi lawyer, speaking to The New Arab, connected the surge in drug use to recent amendments in the penal code, resulting in lighter sentences, mostly fines.
2 min read
03 May, 2024
Drug trafficking poses one of the most significant challenges to Iraqi society. [Getty]

In a significant development, the Iraqi National Security Agency has announced the seizure of more than 1.4 million narcotic pills in Baghdad, uncovering a sophisticated drug smuggling operation. The pills were ingeniously hidden inside fabric rolls, underscoring the evolving tactics of drug traffickers in the region.

The operation in the capital city targeted a shipment intended for smuggling through a cargo shipping company. According to the Iraqi security agency, the pills, identified as Captagon, were concealed in various-sized fabric rolls totalling 440, emphasizing the scale of the smuggling attempt.

Furthermore, the security agency revealed the arrest of a suspect during the operation, who was apprehended in possession of receipts under the name of a freight transport company. This arrest sheds light on the intricate network involved in the illicit drug trade.

Commenting on the alarming rise in drug consumption within the country, an Iraqi lawyer, speaking anonymously to The New Arab, attributed the trend to recent amendments in the penal code for drug-related charges. These amendments, the lawyer explained, resulted in reduced sentences, including lighter penalties for offences that previously warranted death or life imprisonment.

Inside MENA
Live Story


Yasser Al-Husseini, a member of the Iraqi Parliament's Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Committee, emphasised the severity of the situation, stressing the government and security apparatuses' focus on combating the drug epidemic, equating it with the seriousness of terrorism. He also highlighted ongoing parliamentary efforts to amend drug control laws to impose stricter penalties on traffickers and users during an interview with The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Despite concerted efforts by Iraqi security forces to combat drug trafficking, challenges persist in curbing the spread of drugs across the country. Since the aftermath of the US occupation in 2003, Iraq has emerged as a critical transit route for narcotics, primarily originating from Iran and, more recently, Syria.

The ongoing operations by Iraqi security forces underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address the scourge of drug trafficking and consumption, safeguarding the well-being of Iraqi citizens and securing the nation's borders.