By Humphrey Carter
ARMED police were last night hunting five suspected North African drug traffickers after the Guardia Civil intercepted 4.5 tons of hashish off the coast of Sant Telm, Andratx early yesterday morning.

At 2am yesterday morning, Andratx Guardia Civil, with Local Police back-up, launched a lightning operation to intercept a high-speed rib packed with 250 packages of hashish near Ses Salines bay. As armed members of the Guardia Civil and customs swooped on the bay, five of the eight on board the rib managed to scramble ashore and make a run for it. But three of the drug traffickers, all Moroccan, were seized at the scene after police fired in the air.

It is thought the 4.5 ton shipment of hashish was transferred to the 12 metres, four-250cc engined rib off the coast from a ship which set sail from Morocco. A little further down the coast police found winter clothes they suspect has been stashed there by the traffickers. This week, a total seven kilos of hashish have been intercepted. On Thursday, a Guardia Civil patrol seized three tons of the drug but security services were not releasing any further information yesterday. “We're doing everything possible to prevent the Balearics from becoming a new smuggling route and we're succeeding” said the central government delegate Ramon Socias yesterday.

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