Moroccan police have announced the seizure of nearly 30 tons of hashish in Casablanca, one of the largest hauls in the top cannabis-exporting country in years. According to the official MAP news agency, police raided a warehouse in the port city June 7, seizing 12 tons of chira, after the discovery a day earlier of 16.7 tons hidden inside a shipping container at the port, thought to be part of the same consignment. The container was apparently bound for Libya. Police arrested two men, including one said to be the leader of the smuggling ring. Judicial police chief Abdelhak Khayyam said an investigation has been launched into "a large-scale trafficking operation, sending the drug to an Arab country via Casablanca port."
Casablanca's record hashish haul came in 2009, when customs officials discovered 32.3 tons hidden inside soft drink cans marked for recycling. According to the country's Interior Ministry, more than 700,000 Moroccans depend on cannabis production. Cultivation is concentrated in the northern Rif Mountains and covers an estimated area of 50,000 hectares (125,000 acres).
Just as the Casablanca busts were underway, Libyan authorities announced two major hashish hauls, netting a total of 15 tons. The first find was made June 9 on a Liberian-flagged container vessel docked in Benghazi. Police, acting on a tip-off, searched three refrigerated containers and discovered some five tons. It is not yet clear where the containers were loaded, although the vessel reportedly last called at Malta. In a second bust the next day at Khoms, police detained a vessel that had arrived from Senegal. Sniffer dogs were used to detect containers stuffed with 10 tons of hash, at the bottom of crates loaded with vegetables and fruits, including watermelons. The confiscated hashish is to be destroyed in front of the public prosecutors.