Customs police have seized a drug haul with an estimated street value of USD 45 million hidden inside crates of apples.
The drugs – three million Captagon pills – had been hidden in the crates in Syria before being driven over the border with Iraq.
Images from the seizure show how bags of the pills were hidden among the apples being carried in the crates.
Other photographs show the large number of bags of pills lined up against a wall after police removed them from the chiller lorry.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the Border Crossings Authority of Iraq, saying the search took place at the Al-Qaim border crossing, between Deir Ezzor province in Syria and western Iraq’s Anbar region, on Saturday, 11th March.
They said: “The seizure process was carried out through information received from our private sources and in cooperation with the intelligence of the 45th Brigade of the Popular Mobilization Forces.”
Iraqi customs police said the lorry driver, who has not been named, has been arrested.
Captagon is a synthetic psychoactive amphetamine which stimulates users like cocaine and often makes them feel indestructible.
It was used by ISIS fighters in Syria and had spread through the Middle East as a drug of choice among young people.
Demand for the drug has increased dramatically in Iraq, says local media, with customs police stepping up their hunt for traffickers.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry said in December 2021 that its provinces of Basra and Maysan were the “leading southern provinces in terms of trafficking and consumption.”