Three Dutch held in Spanish drugs raid

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Spanish police have seized 20 tonnes of hashish from a Dutch-flagged fishing boat off the coast of Morocco, and arrested three Dutch nationals on board, Spain's customs service said Friday.

It was "the biggest maritime operation against drug traffickers in the last 10 years," the service said in a statement.

Customs agents spotted the 40-metre boat the "Nancy-II" on Thursday in international waters off the coast of Morocco.

It was intercepted, with the authorisation of the Dutch government, and the three people on board, all Dutch nationals, were arrested.

The vessel was then brought to the southwestern Spanish port of Cadiz.

Since early September, Spanish police have seized more than 12 tonnes of hashish in four operations, most of it at sea.

Spain's proximity to Morocco, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine-producing region, have made it a major gateway into Europe for drug traffickers.

© 2010 AFP

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