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Middle East

Yemen hashish pipeline thrives amid war

Posted on September 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Middle East Despite Saudi Arabia's penchant for beheading hashish smugglers, the stuff just keeps coming in. The latest big haul was reported in early September, when a Border Guard naval patrol seized 258 kilograms of hash at Jeddah, the country's principal Red Sea port. A vessel with three Yemeni nationals on board was also seized in the maritime operation—in what is now a familiar story. The flow of hashish entering from Saudi Arabia's war-torn southern neighbor has been increasing as the conflict in Yemen has escalated—whether it is coming up the Red Sea coast or over the rugged land border of harsh desert and mountains.

Who is world's top cannabis producer?

earthThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last week issued its World Drug Report 2017—its 20th annual survey of production, trafficking and eradication and enforcement efforts around the globe. In past years, the report has sought to quantify the amount of cannabis cultivated in each producer country—over the past decade consistently placing Morocco in first place, generally followed by Mexico and Paraguay. This general trend continues—with some new variations.

Kurdish guerillas behind Turkey's hashish trade?

Posted on June 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

TurkeySecurity forces in southeastern Turkey, where authorities have been waging a brutal counterinsurgency war against Kurdish guerillas, reported the seizure last week of 2,290 kilograms of hashish and 6,632 kilograms of unprocessed cannabis "in an operation against the drug activities of the PKK terrorist organization."

Homing pigeon flies ecstasy into Kuwait

Posted on May 26th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle East One of those quirky stories on Fox News informs us this week that authorities in Kuwait intercepted a homing pigeon that had been outfitted with a little backpack containing 178 ecstasy pills. Kuwaiti authorities had apparently "tracked" the bird as it flew in from Iraq. A BBC News report suggests the airborne trafficker's error was to fly too close to a border post, where customs agents were already aware that smugglers were thusly exploiting our feathered friends. (BBC also says the payload was actually ketamine.)

Gaza court gives Palestinians death for dealing

Posted on March 19th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle East A military court in the Gaza Strip has sentenced two men to death after they were found guilty of drug dealing, the independent Palestinian media outlet Ma'an News Agency reported March 19. At a press conference in Gaza City, a representative of the Strip's Interior Ministry—controlled by the Hamas movement—said that the first "convict," an officer in the Palestinian Authority security service, was sentenced to death by firing squad for possession of 40 boxes of the synthetic opiate Tramadol. The second, also Palestinian and described as a "fugitive on the run," was sentenced to death by hanging after he was allegedly caught with a bag containing "a large quantity" of Tramadol, cannabis, and opium. Both are accused of bringing the substances in from across the border with Egypt.

Israel moves to decriminalize recreational cannabis

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsrael's cabinet on March 4 approved a proposed measure to decriminalize recreational use of cannabis, allowing it to go to a vote in the country's parliament, the Knesset. If it passes there, as is expected, first-time cannabis offenders will face a fine of 1,000 shekels ($270), but criminal charges will only be brought on a fourth offense. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who led the reform effort, said that "the government's approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement."

Trump sanctions Venezuela veep as 'kingpin'

Posted on February 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

VenezuelaThe Trump administration has seriously turned up the heat on Venezuela, slapping sanctions on the country's vice president as a drug "kingpin." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Feb. 13 officially named Tareck Zaidan El Aissami as a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker" under terms of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) of 1999. The order charges that El Aissami received pay-offs from a trafficking network linked to Mexico's Zetas narco-gang. Under the order, US nationals and corporations are barred from doing business with El Aissami, and all his assets within the country are frozen.

Flogged for cannabis in Saudi Arabia

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Middle EastSaudi Arabia, already under scrutiny for its draconian punishments for drug offenses and other victimless crimes, just registered yet another medieval barbarism. Bahrain's Gulf Digital News reported Dec. 27 that a man convicted of possession of 59 kilograms of cannabis (about 130 pounds) was sentenced to 10 years in prison—and 1,200 lashes. The Criminal Court in Mecca also fined the presumed trafficker 100,000 riyals (about $25,000) and banned him from travelling abroad for 10 years on serving his term. He was arrested by a police patrol after a search of his vehicle found the stash hidden inside the spare wheel.

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