Last week, Spain’s Guardia Civil announced the seizure of nearly 16 tons of hashish from a vessel intercepted 45 nautical miles south of Malaga.
The crew of nine were all arrested—six Syrian and three Indian nationals. The 85-meter vessel, the Just Reema, was sailing towards the eastern Mediterranean under a Congolese flag when it was boarded by the Guarida in a joint operation with French and Italian police forces dubbed “Urca,” coordinated through Europol.
When the vessel was first searched at sea, police found only a cargo of about 1,500 tons of salt. However, once it was brought into port at Malaga for a more thorough inspection, agents discovered that the craft had a double bottom that hid 15.7 tons of hashish. Europol estimates the value of the haul to be about 24 million euros (about $26.5 million), if sold on the Spanish market.
According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), over the past two and a half years European police forces in the Mediterranean have seized 22 ships carrying up to 30 tons of hashish each.