By Kathryn Stone 2015-07-02 11:36:41
Spanish authorities intercepted a cargo ship this week carrying a massive load of hashish resin, valued at 24 million Euro ($26.6 million).
The nearly 16 ton haul was discovered after French police notified Europol of a suspicious vessel thought to be connected with drug smuggling operations. Specialized intervention teams from the Guardia Civil boarded the 2,495 dwt general cargo ship the evening of June 28 as it passed along the Southern Coast of Spain, near Malaga. The vessel was then escorted into the port as authorities conducted their search for the illicit cargo.
The drug haul was found hidden in a false bottom of the ship under tons of steel chains and loose salt. It consisted of 500 bricks of hashish resin weighing approximately 15.7 tons. Nine crew members, comprised of six Syrian and three Indian nationals, were arrested following the discovery.
In a written statement the Guardia Civil reaffirmed the importance of the close collaboration between France, Spain and Italy in combatting narcotics operations in Eastern Europe. Over the past two and a half years the combined task force has intercepted over 20 drug vessels destined for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Typically drug ships depart from Northern Africa and bring their cargo into the Eastern Mediterranean. From there, narcotics shipments are distributed throughout Europe.
This week’s drug seizure is valued at 24 million Euro ($26.6 million) in the Spanish market, however many other European markets command higher prices.