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Italian police score hashish mega-haul in Mediterranean

Posted on June 8th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ItalyItalian police staged a joint operation in the Mediterranean with Turkish, French, Egyptian, Spanish, Moroccan and Europol forces June 5, intercepting a Turkish cargo ship that was found to be loaded with 12 tons of hashish, valued at an estimated 40 million euros. The 10 Turkish crew members were detained, according to Turkey's BGN News. The Italian Coast Guard received a tip-off from Turkish authorities that there were drugs aboard the vessel Meryam, which was sailing from a Moroccan port. Troops intercepted and boarded the ship in the Strait of Siciliy, which separates Italy from Tunisia. Maritime Executive reports that the ship and crew are being held at the Sicilian port of Palermo.

Pakistan Coast Guard scores record-breaking hash haul

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PakistanPakistan's Coast Guard on May 5 announced the seizure of more than three tons of hashish in a raid of an oil tanker bound for the Middle East, news agencies AFP and Reuters reported. The tanker was intercepted on a tip after it set sail from Pakistan's port of Karachi. Three crew members who hailed from the southwestern province of Baluchistan were arrested. Guardsmen used power-tools to pry open a secret chamber where the stash was hidden. Major Zafar Ahmed said the haul was the biggest ever scored in the history of the Coast Guard. He said the stash would have been worth some $50 million in the Middle Eastern countries where it was bound.

Yemen war fuels dope-for-guns trade

Posted on March 29th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastThe dizzyingly escalating crisis across the Middle East was ratcheted up several degrees last week as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies intervened in Yemen, launching air-strikes against the Shi'ite rebels that have seized much of the country. Saudi troops are amassing on the border and there are fears that the air campaign, dubbed "Operation Decisive Storm," may soon be followed by a ground invasion. Within Yemen, Sunni tribes and militants in al-Qaeda's orbit are also battling the Shi'ite rebels, known as Houthis. (CNN, Al Jazeera, March 29; Yemen Post, March 22)

Lebanon legalization push

Posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastWalid Jumblatt is a name that was frequently in the news when Lebanon's civil war was raging back in the 1980s. The longtime leader of the Druze ethnicity is still around, now an MP with the Progressive Socialist Party—and has emerged as Lebanon's foremost voice for cannabis legalization. Noting the resilient hashish economy in the Bekaa Valley, Jumblatt has actually been pushing cannabis as a cornerstone of security and economic development in Lebanon, which shows growing signs of being drawn into the Syrian war. In comments Jan. 14 to daily As-Safir, Jumblatt said: "I hold onto my opinion on the necessity of legalizing the cultivation of hashish... It's time to allow hash to be grown and to overturn arrest warrants against people sought for doing so." 

Hashish helicopter crashes in Spain

Posted on January 30th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SpainA helicopter loaded with Moroccan hashish crashed in southern Spain after hitting a power pylon, killing its two pilots, authorities said Jan. 28. The chopper went down in the wee hours near the mountain town of Cortes de la Frontera in Málaga province, apparently while takng evasive maneuvers as a Spanish Guardia Civil helicopter gave chase. The smugglers' chopper was painted black to avoid being detected at night, and carrying between 800 and 900 kilos of hash. One of the dead pilots has been identified as an Albanian army major, Sokol Feka. Media reports in Albania say he was an instructor at the Balkan country's Farkës air base.

ISIS burns cannabis, snorts coke?

Posted on January 15th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

ISISWe recently noted that the ultra-puritanical ISIS has been burning the cannabis fields in the territory it controls in northern Syria—and that the cannabis farmers of Lebanon are arming to resist any ISIS incursion across the border. Now comes the hilariously predictable news that ISIS fighters might be snorting cocaine to keep their spirits up! On Jan. 6, the Kurdish Daily News posted a video from the town of Kobani in northern Syria, where local Kurdish fighters have been resisting an ISIS siege since September. The footage shows Kurdish fighters holding a stash of white powder in a big plastic bag just taken from the house of an ISIS commander. Kurdish fighters interviewed on camera said the house had been seized from an ISIS "emir" (as they call their commanders) who had earlier taken it over from local residents. The "emir" was killed in the house-to-house fighting now raging in Kobani, and his home searched. In addittion to lots of weapons (of course), the coke stash was found. The Kurdish fighters said they believed the emir was distributing coke to his own followers to fuel their fighting spirit.

Lebanon's hashish valley arms against ISIS

Posted on January 7th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ISISReporting from Lebanon's hashish heartland of the Bekaa Valley on Jan. 5 Public Radio International spoke to cannabis farmers who say they are ready to resist any ISIS incursion into their fastness. Ali Nasri Shamas, who runs a  mechanized hashish factory in Bouday village, took up arms in 2007 to resist Lebanese government eradication forces. This paid off; the army hasn't been back since 2012. But now the Lebanese army and hash producers are confronting the same enemy. Although officially a wanted man for 35 years now, Shamas happily talks on-camera, alongside a three-ton yield of hash, flanked by masked employees, amid the clatter of processing machines.

Hashish mega-hauls at sea

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastYou think those international forces patroling the coast of Somalia are supposed to be protecting the sea lanes from pirates, right? Well, that's not all they're doing. In the latest operation completed on Oct. 6, an Australian frigate, the HMAS Toowoomba, backed up by a New Zealand search plane trailed a dhow—a type of sailboat traditionally used by Arab merchants— from the Arabian Sea to the Horn of Africa. After four days, the Australian crew was able to board the dhow, and a search turned up 5.59 metric tons of hashish. The operation was conducted under the command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), officially established to fight piracy. CTF-150 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces, which are also policing the waters of the Persian Gulf—ostensibly against terrorist infiltration, but far more often against hashish smuggling. The recent haul was its first successful counter-narcotics operation since Pakistan's navy took command of CTF-150 in August. Task Force head Commodore Sajid Mahmood said he was "incredibly proud" of the sailors and airmen involved in the bust. "CTF-150 has a long history of disrupting narcotics trafficking in the region," he enthused. "Keep up the good work!" (APNZ, Oct. 6)

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