Morocco: Drug trafficking rising

2010-11-03 22:19
Madrid - Morocco is alarmed by the rise in the amount of cocaine being smuggled from South America to Europe though its territory, Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri said on Wednesday in Spain.

"Today it is not soft drugs that are being trafficked between Africa and Europe. Today we are extremely worried by this flow of hard drugs like cocaine, which essentially come from South America," he told a news conference.

International drug trafficking gangs ship the cocaine from South America by air or sea, first to west Africa, from where it is then transported to Morocco, the minister said. It is then flown from Morocco to Spain.

"There are planes which regularly come to take cocaine from Morocco and to southern Europe, especially Spain," Fihri told a joint news conference in Madrid with his Spanish counterpart, Trinidad Jimenez.

The minister urged Spain and Morocco to boost their co-operation to combat this drug smuggling, just as the two nations have stepped up their joint effort against illegal immigration.

"I draw your attention to the danger posed by cocaine not just for the market and consumers, but because of the destabilising factor it can have in various nations," he said.

Last month Moroccan authorities announced they had dismantled a drug ring which they said had ties to al-Qaeda's North African affiliate (AQIM) as well as Latin American drug cartels, and which brought cocaine and marijuana from Colombia and Venezuela to Mali, and then on to Morocco and Europe.

Moroccan Interior Minister Taieb Cherqaoui said 34 people were arrested as part of the operation, including a Spaniard who led the group from Morocco.

Last week Spanish and French police announced they had smashed a group that smuggled cocaine and hashish from Morocco to southern Spain by helicopter with the arrest of six French citizens.

Morocco has long been a major source of the cannabis which is consumed in the European Union. Most of the cannabis plants, from which hashish is produced, are grown in the country's rugged and isolated Rif mountains by farmers trying to stave off grinding poverty.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    spain  |  morocco  |  north africa  |  narcotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks take ‘no mercy’ approach
Burger to equal Bok RWC record
Japan victory attracts record TV figures
iPads the secret to Japanese RWC success
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.