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Authorities seizes over one tonne of cocaine

Authorities said on Saturday they had seized more than a tonne of cocaine and detained seven people suspected of smuggling the narcotic from South America on the way towards Europe.

The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) said the cocaine was found in a truck along with two dinghies near the port city of El Jadida, according to a statement.

Seven Moroccan citizens were arrested “for their alleged links to a transnational criminal network involved in the international trafficking of cocaine between Morocco, Latin America and Europe”.

Morocco, in particular, provides an attractive geographical location for traffickers. The short trip across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain allows drug dealers to quickly access European markets.

The cocaine was concealed in a Morocco-registered truck, the interior ministry said in a statement. The illegal substance was first smuggled by sea from a Latin American country aboard a commercial vessel.

It was then unloaded off the coast of El Jadida and transported onboard fishing vessels to a nearby beach, where it was loaded onto a truck intended for hauling vegetables.

Cocaine traffickers have developed new routes to Europe over the past decade.

The Moroccan ministry said investigations are underway to determine the regional and international ramifications of this criminal network as well as its possible links to international criminal organizations and South American cartels.

The drug is mostly sent from Central America via West African countries and more recently through North Africa, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Earlier this year, Morocco seized a 541 Kg shipment of cocaine originating in Brazil and bound for Casablanca.

In recent years, the Moroccan authorities have reported increasing cocaine seizures, including a record 2.5 tonne haul in October last year.

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