Iraqi police seize over 6 million Captagon amphetamine tablets | 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 tablets of the amphetamine-type stimulant Captagon, made several arrests and dismantled 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 were arrested in connection with the trafficking network, the agency said, adding that the drugs were intended for distribution “in areas of Baghdad and other provinces”.

Security forces also dismantled a second drug ring when three men were arrested with six kilograms (13 pounds) of hashish.

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

Convictions for drug trafficking can carry the death penalty in Iraq.

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

The drug was later banned and has become an illicit substance almost exclusively produced and consumed in the Middle East and approximates what is known in other countries as “speed”.

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

A Saudi customs official opens imported pomegranates, as customs foil an attempt to smuggle more than five million Captagon pills in 2021 [File photo: Saudi Press Agency/AP]

In April 2021, Saudi customs authorities at the port of Jeddah foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 5.3 million Captagon pills, which were concealed in grenade shipments from Lebanon.

The drug slump led Saudi Arabia to suspend fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon, saying the shipments were being used for drug trafficking and accusing Beirut of inaction.

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

The sale and consumption of drugs in Iraq has exploded in recent years. The security forces have intensified their operations and make almost daily announcements of seizures or arrests.

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

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