ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The anti-narcotics directorate of the Kurdistan Region announced on Monday that it had foiled multiple attempts to smuggle over 15 kilograms of illicit drugs to Canada.
The directorate said in a statement that its detachments seized 9.9 kilograms of “crystal” and an additional 610 grams of opium in two separate operations on Saturday.
It should be noted that there is often confusion about the term “crystal” in the region since it is commonly used as the local name for two different highly-addictive drugs. One is methamphetamine, known in much of the world as crystal meth, but it can also refer to high-purity street-level heroin, sometimes called “Kerack.”
The illicit drugs impounded in the latest bust were hidden in pillows, the directorate said, adding, “the defendants were aiming to smuggle the material to Canada through a shipping company.”
The statement did not give the exact number of defendants but mentioned they had confessed to attempted narcotics possession and smuggling.
Last week, Erbil security forces reported they had arrested three Iranian nationals for attempting to smuggle an unspecified amount of illicit drugs into the region by hiding them in items they were carrying.
Kurdish and Iraqi authorities often intercept shipments of drugs passing through Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, mainly in the provinces of Basra, Diyala, Erbil, and Sulaimani. In mid-July, the Asayish (security) confiscated 48.7 kilograms of narcotics near the Iranian border.
In late July, the Asayish announced they had arrested 651 suspected drug dealers and consumers in the first six months of 2019.
There are no official statistics on the number of people arrested on drug-related charges, nor are there any statistics on the total number of users in Iraq, in general. More