Greek authorities on December 14 reported the discovery of a massive haul of drugs with an estimated street value exceeding 100 million euros on board the Syrian-flagged freighter “Noka”, which had been confiscated and was being held at the port of Heraklio, Crete. According to the coast guard, the ship was carrying over six tonnes and 51.7 kilos of hashish, as well as 3,127,360 tablets of the hallucinatory drug Captagon – also known as the ‘jihadi drug’ – that were hidden in containers on board the ship.
Coast guard officers said the drugs were stowed away in secret compartments formed by putting a fake double floor inside eight of the 18 containers on board the vessel, which had set sail from Syria and was bound for Benghazi in Libya. They were further camouflaged by placing them among packets of coffee, spices and sawdust.
The 11-member crew of 10 Syrian nationals and one Indian national deny all knowledge of the illegal cargo.
The ship was seized in a coast guard operation south of Crete, with the assistance of divers. Due to poor weather conditions it was initially escorted to the port of Ierapetra and then to the port of Heraklio. According to the coast guard, while the ship was bound for Libya, at least a part of its illegal cargo would have ended up in Europe.
He said the bust, which was the largest quantity of captagon pills ever seized, was the result of dogged persistence by the coast guard officers taking part in the operation, who were convinced that the ship was engaged in suspect activity and spent days going through containers full of legitimate cargo to find the drugs.