Over half a ton of narcotic pills were confiscated in Erbil during a single security operation, the internal security forces (Asayish) revealed on Monday, adding that the drugs were intended to be transported abroad.
The Kurdistan Region’s Security Council said that the Asayish had been able to confiscate over 500 kilograms of drugs in Erbil, during an operation that was conducted on June 14.
Four suspects, including the drivers of the shipment and owner of the storage, have been arrested. Their names were not revealed as to not deter the investigation process, according to the council.
The pills, hidden inside beverage filling machines, were sent from Kirkuk to Erbil, and were set to be transported outside of the country using shipping companies, the statement added.
Drug trafficking and use have been on a rise in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, specifically since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Kirkuk has become a major gateway for transporting narcotics into the Kurdistan Region in the recent period.
The Kurdistan Region’s anti-narcotics general directorate said earlier this month that 5,419 people have been arrested across the Region since 2019 for the use and dealing of different narcotic drugs, adding that over 1217 kilograms of drugs have been seized during that period as well.
In 2021, 1,943 people were arrested on drug-related charges.