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Maldives seeks US help to net hashish smugglers

US help was sought after fishermen found about 1,700 kilograms of hashish packed in 1,697 plastic bags on the ocean bed in Maldives.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2006 14:37 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
None
Hindustantimes
         

The Maldives has sought US help to investigate how a huge cache of hashish was smuggled into the Indian Ocean tourist paradise, the Haveeru news service said on Monday.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had promised to help in the case, officials said, adding that no arrests had been made since local fishermen gave police their biggest ever catch of drugs last week.

Lobster fishermen found about 1,700 kilograms (3,520 pounds) of hashish packed in 1,697 plastic bags on the ocean bed, the agency said.

Authorities believe the drugs were placed there about a week to 10 days ago.

"We still do not know how the drugs were smuggled into Maldives," police investigator Abdullah Shareef said.

On Saturday, officials confirmed the haul as the biggest illegal drug find in South Asia's most expensive tourist destination.

The Maldives has a population of 300,000, mainly Sunni Muslims, and drug smuggling carries the death penalty although no one has been executed for the crime in the archipelago of 1,192 coral islands scattered along 850 kilometres across the equator.

First Published: Apr 25, 2006 14:37 IST