Iraq reports huge illegal drugs seizure, two arrests

BAGHDAD (AFP) : Iraqi security forces said Thursday they had seized 15 tons of illegal drugs, contraband pharmaceuticals and precursor chemicals and made two arrests.

They said the chemical components confiscated in Baghdad are used to manufacture crystal meth and captagon — two drugs whose consumption has surged in Iraq in recent years.

The drug squad made the seizure in an upscale neighborhood of the capital, the interior ministry said in a statement.

“Two suspects were arrested and brought to justice,” said Col. Bilal Sobhi, spokesman for the unit that is attached to the ministry.

The squad confiscated “15 tons of narcotics, chemical components used in the manufacture of drugs, and contraband medicines not registered with the health ministry,” he said.

Sobhi said the chemical components seized are used to make captagon, a synthetic amphetamine-type drug, and crystal meth or methamphetamine.

Iraqi authorities regularly announce the seizure of captagon pills, usually from neighboring Syria, the top supplier for the illicit market in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf countries.

War-scarred Iraq, originally mainly a drug transit country, has faced an explosion in narcotics use in recent years, mainly of captagon and crystal meth.

In early August, Iraqi justice officials announced the arrest of a trafficker in possession of 35 kilograms of opium and more than half a million captagon tablets.