Italian police seize 10 tonnes of hashish on high seas

Italian agents have seized over 10 tonnes of cannabis resin worth up to €20 million in a dramatic high-seas operation, police said on Thursday.

Italian police seize 10 tonnes of hashish on high seas

Italy's Guardia di Finanza (GDF) finance police swooped on a Dutch fishing boat 130 nautical miles southeast of Sicily after tracking the vessel from the air for two days, a statement said, arresting all nine members of the vessel's crew.

The GDF said that the drugs recovered from the boat were of a sufficiently high quality that it had a market value of between €15-20 million.

Two of the detained, including the first officer, have been identified as members of a “dangerous” Maltese criminal organization, the authorities said. They had been arrested in Spain last summer in a joint operation between the GDF and Spanish police for trafficking 6,000 cases of contraband cigarettes.

Another suspect was a Sicilian whose criminal record contains previous conviction for armed robbery.

The boat, called Quest, was intercepted after it left Malta and headed for the Straits of Gibraltar, where it met drug dealers arriving on speedboats and was caught red-handed by swooping police.

The raid was part of an international anti-drug trafficking initiative called “Libeccio International” – Libeccio being a southwesterly wind that sweeps Italy and Corsica – in which Italy collaborates with a number of other
European nations. 

READ ALSO: Police drone spots 15,000 cannabis plants growing on Sicilian tomato farm

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP


Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome’s Trevi Fountain

With the return of tourism and scorching temperatures, Rome’s fountains are once again attracting visitors hoping to cool off with a midnight swim.

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome's Trevi Fountain

In the latest incident, a 26-year-old Spanish man was fined 450 euros after taking a dip in the Trevi Fountain in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Rome’s city police apprehended and fined the man after he was spotted swimming in the 18th-century monument at around 5am, according to local media reports.

READ ALSO: How to keep cool like an Ancient Roman in Italy’s summer heat

Every summer, hapless foreign visitors face fines of hundreds of euros after falling foul of Rome’s strict ban on taking a dip in public fountains – with the city mayor warning tourists that the centuries-old Baroque monuments are “not swimming pools”.

In April, two Dutch tourists also faced fines totalling over €1,000 after their own ill-advised splash in the Trevi Fountain.

The Roman landmark is one of the city’s main magnets for badly-behaved visitors, but tourists have also been fined after cooling off in the Santa Maria fountain in Trastevere, believed to be the city’s oldest. 

Since 2018, anyone caught misbehaving at Rome’s monuments can also face a temporary ‘Daspo’ ban from the area – similar to an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) in the UK – which allows city police to restrict the movement of people they deem a threat to public order.

READ ALSO: From selfie brawls to midnight swims: Tourists behaving badly at the Trevi Fountain

But a plan to erect a one-metre-high glass and steel barrier around the Trevi fountain to protect it from unruly visitors now appears to have been abandoned after arts and heritage experts called the idea “foolish”.

Fines for swimming in the fountains have been in place since 2015, but this hasn’t stopped determined visitors from recreating scenes from La Dolce Vita and even some locals from taking a dip – – with or without their clothes.

Swimming in the wrong place is just one of the offences regularly committed by visitors, with graffiti and vandalism a common problem at many of Italy’s famous monuments.

READ ALSO: 15 strange ways to get into trouble on holiday in Italy

In Rome alone, this year tourists have made headlines for everything from breaking into the Colosseum to enjoy a drink with a view to driving a car down the Spanish Steps.

Other Italian tourism hotspots, including Florence and Venice, also have varying local rules in place aimed at curbing rowdy behaviour.