Middle East

Algeria seizes 127 tonnes of hashish in 8 months

This photo provided Tuesday, May, 14, 2013 shows burning cannabis, Thursday, May 9, 2013 outside Casablanca, Morocco. (AP Photo/Meriem Ismail)

ALGIERS: Algeria has seized more than 127 tonnes of cannabis smuggled from Morocco in the first eight months of 2013, the head of the narcotics squad announced on Wednesday.

"In total, 127,098.875 kilos of cannabis resin... were seized in the first eight months of 2013," said Mohamed Zouggar, cited by official media.

Zouggar said all the cannabis seized by the Algerian authorities came from Morocco.

During the same period, 764,333 psychotropic pills of different kinds were picked up and more than 12,500 people implicated in the illegal drugs trade were arrested.

Hashish hauls are a regular occurrence in Algeria, with its western neighbour being one of the top cannabis producers worldwide and Europe's main source.

The drug is frequently smuggled across the border, officially closed since 1994, either for export or for local consumption, while subsidised Algerian fuel is smuggled into Morocco.

In 2012, more than 157 tonnes of cannabis were sized in Algeria, compared with 53 tonnes in 2011, according to official figures.

In June, Algiers heavily beefed up security along its western frontier, after calling for Rabat's help in combatting illegal cross-border trade.





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