Iraqi authorities ramp up measures to combat border smuggling
Iraqi officials have escalated their endeavors to counteract the ongoing issue of smuggling at the country’s borders. Last week marked a significant achievement for Iraqi border control, as they thwarted an illicit attempt to transport substantial amounts of money across the al-Qaim border shared with Syria.
As part of their vigorous crackdown on cross-border currency smuggling, Iraqi law enforcement managed to apprehend two individuals involved in the unlawful activity. The suspects, whose identities remain undisclosed at present, were caught red-handed with a significant stash of money concealed in a skillful manner.
Reports from Iraqi state media reveal that the seized haul included approximately 26 million Iraqi dinars (equivalent to about $19,800), $40,000 in US dollars, and 10,000 Australian dollars. Prompt action by security forces led to the confiscation of these funds and the subsequent arrest of the individuals.
Iraq has grappled with the challenge of stemming the flow of dollars leaving the country, with concerns that these funds are making their way to neighboring nations through smuggling networks. In recent years, concerted efforts have been made to bolster security along the Iraqi-Syrian border, aiming to prevent not only currency smuggling but also the infiltration of militants associated with groups like the Islamic State.
However, the al-Qaim border crossing has recently evolved into a hotspot for another illicit trade—illegal narcotics, specifically captagon pills. These narcotics are being surreptitiously smuggled from Syria into Iraq, exploiting the border’s vulnerabilities. Over the past months, Iraqi security forces have escalated their initiatives against drug trafficking, yielding successful results in terms of substantial drug seizures.
As an example of their recent successes, just this March, authorities discovered a staggering three million illegal pills ingeniously hidden among crates of apples on a truck attempting to cross the border. The al-Qaim border crossing, located between Iraq’s Anbar desert region and Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, continues to pose challenges and demands heightened vigilance from Iraqi officials in their quest to secure the borders and curb unlawful activities.