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)
Updated 14 March 2018

Morocco finds hashish shipment disguised as orange juice

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.


Deal on horizon after Lebanon maritime border talks

Updated 23 min 9 sec ago

Deal on horizon after Lebanon maritime border talks

  • Hariri condemns ‘heinous criminal attack’ on French worshippers 

BEIRU: Talks between Israel and Lebanon over disputed maritime borders are expected to resume next month following two days of productive negotiations, the US and UN said.

US-mediated talks held at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naqoura ended on Thursday with plans for another round of negotiations to begin on Nov. 11.

Lebanon presented documents and maps claiming its right to 2,270 sq. km of the marine area, a position at odds with Israel.

Following the talks, the US and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon released a statement saying: “Building on progress from their Oct. 14 meeting, on Oct. 28 and 29 representatives from the governments of Israel and Lebanon held productive talks mediated by the US and hosted by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

“The US and UNSCOL remain hopeful that these negotiations will lead to a long-awaited resolution. The parties committed to continue negotiations next month.”

Meanwhile, a terrorist attack that left three people dead in a church in the southern French city of Nice has drawn widespread condemnation in Lebanon.

Prime minister-designate Saad Hariri condemned what he described as a “heinous criminal attack.”

After meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority, he said: “The incidents in France are regrettable, but we condemn in return the words and cartoons mocking the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). But what happened today in Nice is a very regrettable murder because it makes it seem like all Muslims have the same mentality, and this is entirely false.

“Thoughts, speech or revenge should not be based on this logic. This discourse is wrong. Just as well, such cartoons should not be published, and we condemn them. But the important thing is to realize that Islam is fine.”