Watch $400 Million in Smuggled Hash Burn on Ship

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 9 2013 5:32 PM

Watch as $400 Million in Smuggled Hash Burns Aboard Ship in Mediterranean

158245828
The head of the operations, Italian lieutenant colonel Davide Cardia of the Guardia di Finanzia, stands next officers in the operation room in Rome.

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

Smugglers shipping some 30 tons of hashish across the Mediterranean had a tough choice to make as Italian police closed in–what to do with the contraband?

They decided to set fire to the drugs creating a thick plume of smoke and then the nine Syrian and Egyptian crew members abandoned ship, leaping into the water off the coast of Sicily, according to the Telegraph. The crew was arrested at sea by the Italian tax police while the unmanned ship continued to drift with its burning cargo for four hours before police were able to board it and try to put out the flames.

Advertisement

"Setting fire to the cargo and then jumping in to the water, far from the coast, is something we've not seen in 30 years," a police spokesman told the Telegraph. "The officers who boarded the ship needed to wear gas masks to avoid being overcome by smoke," he added. "And now they will need to stay away from our sniffer dogs until they have had a good shower."

The 30-ton cargo had an estimated street value of almost $400 million, according to the Times of Malta.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 3:01 PM Netizen Report: Hong Kong Protests Trigger Surveillance and Social Media Censorship
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.