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Morocco finds hashish shipment disguised as orange juice

A handout photo released by the French customs (Douanes Francaises) on October 22, 2017 shows bags containing canabis resin, seized by the French customs on the nights between October 19 and October 20, 2017, in La Rochelle. (AFP)
RABAT: Moroccan customs officials said Tuesday that they had seized 240 kilograms of hashish squeezed into orange juice cartons destined for export at the port city of Casablanca.
Authorities said the stash was found after a check of the supposed shipment of fruit drink showed up some “discrepancies.”
After a search, bricks of cannabis resin totaling 240 kilograms (530 pounds) were found “carefully concealed inside cartons of orange juice from a local brand,” said a statement by the customs authorities carried by local media.
In a bid to outfox officials the smugglers had added sand to the shipment to make it weigh the same as a consignment of juice, it said.
North African nation Morocco is the biggest producer of hashish in the world and one of the major exporters of cannabis resin, which is mainly shipped to Europe, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Some 50,000 hectares of agricultural land were used for the production of cannabis, mostly in the impoverished northern Rif region, statistics from 2015 said.
In 2016, one of the world’s most wanted hashish smugglers was captured in Casablanca.
Ben Ziane Berhili, 57, the owner of a large dessert company in Morocco, was involved in smuggling 400 tons of hashish to Europe every year, according to Italian investigators.
His arrest was a major development in a multinational investigation into a lucrative new drug trafficking route to Europe that begins in Morocco and passes along the coast of North Africa to Libya, where it includes an area contested by several armed groups, including Daesh.

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