[forteana] Hashish ‘fell on to back of army lorry’ (fwd)

Hashish ‘fell on to back of army lorry’. “Spain’s defence ministry is still at a loss to explain how three-quarters of a tonne of hashish had turned up in an army truck. … ‘Anybody could have put the toxic substance there,’ said the defence minister”. Don’t worry minister, I’m sure the customs officials haven’t heard that one before…

Fantastic ending:

But now both he and the armed services are being ruthlessly lampooned by, among others, The Puppet Show News … Mr Trillo, a member of the strict Opus Dei Catholic lay order, is routinely portrayed as a uniformed pothead whose favourite pastime is getting stoned with the mascot of the Spanish Legion, a little white goat called Blanquita.

As both he and Blanquita mourned the lost Eurofighter by lighting up a giant joint at the weekend, the defence minister declared: “It’s the only way to fly.”

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 10:43:29 +0000
From: “Martin Adamson” (spam-protected)
To: (spam-protected)
Subject: Hashish ‘fell on to back of army lorry’

The Guardian

Hashish ‘fell on to back of army lorry’

Giles Tremlett in Madrid Tuesday November 26, 2002

It is a matter, you might say, that is shrouded in dense, aromatic smoke – Spain’s defence ministry is still at a loss to explain how three-quarters of a tonne of hashish had turned up in an army truck in the country’s north African enclave of Melilla.

Embarrassed officials tried to claim that the troops it has permanently stationed in north Africa would never have succumbed to the temptation of smuggling the region’s most important cash crop across the Mediterranean.

The high-quality Moroccan hashish, almost certainly produced in the nearby Rif mountains, was found by police sniffer dogs in the port of Melilla as the truck waited to be shipped to Almeria.

“Anybody could have put the toxic substance there,” said the defence minister, Federico Trillo, after explaining that the truck had been parked, unattended, in Melilla’s port for about two days.

Local police disagreed. The truck had only been parked there for a few hours, they said. They suggested that the khaki kit bags stuffed full of shrink-wrapped dope could only have come from within the Spanish armed forces.

The questioning of eight uniformed suspects has shed no further light on the case and opposition politicians have called for a full explanation from Mr Trillo.

The drugs bust has done little to improve ties with nearby Morocco, which claims Melilla as its own and is constantly accused by Madrid of turning a blind eye to hashish-smuggling.

The find also came at a troubled time for the newly professional Spanish armed forces, which are failing to attract recruits and retain their aircraft: they lost their only trial version of the £50m Eurofighter in an accident last week.

Mr Trillo, a proud military man and stern Catholic conservative, hoped the standing of the armed forces had improved after special forces ejected six poorly armed Moroccan gendarmes from the Parsley islet over the summer.

But now both he and the armed services are being ruthlessly lampoonedby, among others The Puppet Show News, Spain’s equivalent of Spitting Image.

Mr Trillo, a member of the strict Opus Dei Catholic lay order, is routinely portrayed as a uniformed pothead whose favourite pastime is getting stoned with the mascot of the Spanish Legion, a little white goat called Blanquita.

As both he and Blanquita mourned the lost Eurofighter by lighting up a giant joint at the weekend, the defence minister declared: “It’s the only way to fly.”

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

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