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Investors Iraq News
10-24-2016, 09:58 AM
By*Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/pmu-iraq-army-national-guard.html). Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.*
In the oil-rich city of Basra in southern Iraq, drug-trafficking gangs are gaining power. Through certain areas on the Iraqi-Iranian (http://www.iran-bn.com/)border, drugs come in from Iran to be consumed in Basra or smuggled to other Iraqi cities.
On Oct. 4, forces from the anti-drug office of the Basra police were able to arrest*one*drug dealer (http://www.qnanews.com/2016/10/blog-post_19.html). However, local authorities are unable to touch major drug-trafficking gangs, because the local police lack the expertise and means to do so and thus only arrests*middlemen*and drug users (http://www.aladwa-news.com/?p=15861).
The drug trade has*been linked to several problems such as armed conflicts between gangs, murders, kidnappings and armed robberies. For instance, on Oct. 8, the Basra police reported that a young man was shot dead while another was injured as a result of an armed brawl between*drug gangs. On Oct. 17, the Basra police also arrested two drug dealers with a significant quantity*of marijuana and three*guns (http://www.alsumaria.tv/news/182894/%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AE%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%81/).
Back on Aug. 25, Basra Police Chief*Abdul-Karim al-Mayahi noted at a press conference, “Drug use has skyrocketed (http://www.sotaliraq.com/newsitem.php?id=346353#axzz4MC3uBJuo)*in 2016, and*control is needed over the borders of Basra province*to prevent drugs from entering.” What began as a*provincial matter turned into a national priority (http://basra.gov.iq/ar/184/250/19080.html)*as efforts to fight it gained great momentum at the security and defense committee meetings held at the parliament on Oct. 3.
The number of drug abusers arrested (http://www.almirbad.com/news/view.aspx?cdate=25082016&id=37175482-b5f0-4782-8295-b0007b847dd4) in 2016 increased by about 300% compared to 2015, when*261 people were arrested for drug violations. That number jumped to*780 just in the first eight months of*2016. The amount of narcotic substances seized by authorities jumped by almost 12 times during the last fiscal year. The problem*poses a threat to the citizens*of*the province, especially the*young men targeted by drug-trafficking gangs.
In 2016, the*provincial*authorities*convicted 47 individuals of drug-trafficking (http://burathanews.com/arabic/news/301164) and gave them various sentences,*including life imprisonment.


Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2016/10/24/police-overwhelmed-as-drugs-from-iran-flood-basra/)

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