Iraqi border guards reported shooting down a flying vehicle today that they said was being used to smuggle drugs.
The Iraqi Security Media Cell reported June 3 that a pilot was flying the makeshift vehicle near Jirishan in the southern Basra province. The border guards opened fire, forcing the pilot to land and flee to “one of the neighboring countries.” They recovered one million pills of an unspecified drug during the incident. The search for the pilot is ongoing, the outlet said in a series of tweets.
The vehicle has three wheels and resembles a homemade parasail, with a propeller and a parachute in photos released by the Security Media Cell.
Jirishan is close to Kuwait and Basra also borders Iran.
Why it matters: Iraq is in the midst of a drug war. Security forces have ramped up drug busts recently, particularly in the deserts of western Iraq near the Syrian border. Numerous judges working on drug cases have been killed in Iraq since the US invasion in 2003. There is considerable popular anger at drug traffickers in the country. Much of the drug trade in Iraq consists of the amphetamine Captagon.
Know more: The Captagon trade is widespread throughout the Middle East. A Jordanian official recently said the country's Captagon seizures are on track to double this year.