Police Nab Hashish from Containers

Tuesday, August 14, 2001
Australian police seized almost three tons of hashish smuggled into the Port of Melbourne in two shipping containers. A four-day stake-out led to the seizure of one of Australia's ten biggest cannabis hauls, which police conservatively estimate is worth $15 million ($7.8 million) on the wholesale market, or up to 10 times that if sold in small amounts on city streets. Australian Federal Police and customs officers began a covert surveillance operation last Friday when the container ship, Mol Waratah, docked at Melbourne. A team of more than 50 members arrested five men as they opened the suspect containers early on Tuesday. The containers were loaded with marble floor tiles laid on top of dozens of parcels of hashish. Police said the cannabis came from the Middle East, without mentioning a specific country. Five Melbourne men appeared briefly in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, each charged with possessing a prohibited import and being knowingly concerned with a prohibited import. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in jail. - (Reuters)
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