Iranian dope plagues southern Iraq

Each Saturday a long line of women dressed in black snakes around the cracked concrete facade of the decrepit Basra police station where the city’s anti-narcotics force has its home. Two police officers are posted to maintain order, but the women – who shelter from the stifling sun in the walls’ narrow shade – are silent and subdued. They patiently wait to visit their sons, husbands and brothers jailed inside.

The inmates range from petty dealers to gang members pushing drugs in bulk. Three hundred people are crammed into three cells where metal bunks overflow and the floor is strewn with half-naked bodies lined head to toe like sardines. The stench from an adjacent sewage lagoon mixes with sweat and hangs heavy in the air.

In the last three years a drugs epidemic has swept through the southern Iraqi city as Iranian-produced krystal – the local name for methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth – floods across the porous border. Police say consumption is doubling year on year as the drug is marketed to both Basra’s impoverished districts where religious militia rule; and its university students, who are sold it as a sexual performance enhancer. The officers tasked to tackle the trade are badly resourced, forced to fund small-scale operations from their salaries and fearful of ambush if they are betrayed.
There is much more.

Iran appears to be exporting its drug problem.  There are plenty of miserable people in both countries looking for an escape from reality.  I wonder if the Mexican drug cartels are interested in this market.


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