Coalition troops have seized $30 million worth of heroin intended for sale on Iraqi streets by rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia, the former commander of the 9,000-strong Polish force in south-central Iraq says.
Lt. Gen. Mieczyslav Bieniek said the militia was using the drug profits “to pay for action” against coalition forces and that some members of the Mahdi’s Army were “under the influence [while] fighting us.”
The Polish commander was in Washington last week and said that the heroin trade was so pervasive that militia members were known as the “pink army” “” named after the red plastic bags they use to peddle the drugs.
Military reports from southern Iraq, as well as State Department and Iraqi sources, have said militants also were using and selling amphetamines in Najaf and Baghdad.
Their customers are mainly Iraqi civilians, but officials do not rule out that some of the drugs have reached coalition troops. Marijuana and hashish also are readily available across Iraq.