The Tanzania-flagged tugboat intercepted by the Greek coast guard on Wednesday was carrying more than six tonnes of hashish (6,177.800 kilos) with an estimated street value of 70 million euros in its hold, sources said on Wednesday. The "Andreas" was caught about 50 nautical miles south of Crete, en route from the port of Latakia to Malta, and had already been under surveillance for 48 hours.
It was stopped in a large-scale operation with the help of the Underwater Missions Unit, for what sources claimed was one of the largest hauls of illegal drugs made by the Greek coast guard. During the operation, warning shots were fired because the crew of the suspect vessel did not comply with orders.
The six crew-members, all Syrian nationals, were arrested and the tug boat was escorted to Aghia Galini, Crete where 241 packets of drugs were found hidden in special crypts after a careful search using a trained police sniffer dog.
According to the crew, the tug was heading to Malta for repairs and had set off from Nicosia on November 30. All six will be led before a Piraeus public prosecutor in the next few days.
Meanwhile, the search for possible additional drugs is continuing while an investigation has been launched by the coast guard drugs and smuggling department, in collaboration with prosecuting authorities abroad.