Dutch Yacht Seized With 10 Tons of Cannabis On Board Off Spanish Coast

A Dutch yacht was so overloaded with 10 tons of cannabis, it was in danger of sinking off the southern Spanish coast.

Spain’s finance ministry reported Monday that Spanish customs officials seized around 10 ton of cannabis from the unwieldy yacht in international waters off the Cabo de Gata coast some 92 kilometers (57 miles) southwest of the city of Almeria.

According to the Spanish language newspaper El Pais, three Dutch suspects, two men and one woman, were arrested from the yacht, which was flying a Dutch flag and severely in danger of sinking due to its heavy cannabis cargo.

The image below shows a screengrab of the Spanish customs officials boarding the small yacht.

Spanish customs officials board a Dutch yacht, smuggling 10 tons of cannabis.

According to a statement from the finance ministry, the packages of cannabis took up all the available space in the yacht, including all surfaces in the cabin. The image from Twitter below shows the drugs piled on to the beds, floor and other surfaces of the yacht’s cabin.

The three Dutch crew members of the yacht have been charged with both smuggling the 10 tons of cannabis and also endangering public health.

The Local reports that due to the ideal location of its Mediterranean coast, Spain is a major route for smuggling hashish and cannabis from Morocco and is also used for smuggling cocaine from Latin America into Europe.

While the boat in the current incident was small and was in danger of sinking from its heavy load, back in July Spanish police seized around 15.7 tons of hashish resin from a merchant ship close to the port of Malaga in the south.

However, the record still remains for a seizure back in 2013, where 52 tons of cannabis were captured from smugglers.

Cannabis is decriminalized in Spain and it is legal to smoke in private, enclosed spaces. Up to two plants can be grown on private property, as long as the plants cannot be seen from the streets.

However, Barcelona has been dubbed the “new Amsterdam” due to the approximately 200 of the country’s 500 private “cannabis clubs” that have been set up there, making the city a popular destination for marijuana tourists. According to the Local, Spain’s capital Madrid is reportedly gradually catching up with the other popular tourist city by setting up yet more cannabis clubs.

Difficulties and controversies arise, however, as it is illegal to grow on a commercial basis or to sell to the public and, of course, to smuggle in large quantities into the country.

[Image: Cannabis plant CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Don Goofy / Screengrab of yacht from video on El Pais]