This article first appeared in our partner site, Independent Saudi
For the second week in a row, large shipments of strange drugs are showing up on the shores of Libya with no identifiable origin. The anti-narcotics squad in the northeastern city of Marj has recently uncovered one such shipment. What is distinctive about the cargo, however, is that each pack of narcotics has a picture of Vladimir Putin on it.
Authorities in eastern Libya did not shed light on the origin of the shipment, where it had been headed, and why Putin’s face was on it. Many questions were raised around this peculiar cache, which was seized mere days following the unusual occurrence of drug shipments washing up on the shores of several cities in eastern Libya.
The anti-narcotics squad in Marj, located 100 km to the east of Benghazi, announced the seizure of 323 packages of narcotics. The packages weighed around 250 grams each and bore the Russian president’s picture.
French news agency, AFP, quoted an anti-narcotics officer saying that 323 packages had been seized. However, they did not disclose the shipment’s origin.
speaking to Independent Saudi, an anti-narcotics officer from Turketa commented on the string of strange shipments washing up on Libya’s eastern shores. “The shipment was not seized in Marj. It washed up on a beach near the ancient village of Tolmeta, around 70 km to the east of Benghazi. Then it was handed to the anti-narcotics squad in Marj as the area came within its jurisdiction,” he added.
“It is difficult to know why the seized packages bore the picture of the Russian president, as it was not caught on a person, whom we could obtain information from to clear up this mystery. Its origin and eventual destination are also unknown.”
Libyan authorities had captured seven similar shipments in the region extending from Zueitina to the west of Benghazi, to Tolmeita to the east of the city; a stretch of approximately 200 km. Authorities have so far been unable to solve the mystery of these narcotics.
Ever since the seizure of the first shipment of drugs on the shores of eastern Libya, their origins, and just how they arrived on Libyan coasts remain a subject of speculation.
According to Libyan journalist Abdul Salam Al Orfi, however: “The controversial pictures of the Russian president on the drug charge are no mystery.
“It is nothing more than an attempt to differentiate them from other shipments by the dealers who sent them. They are also trying to promote their goods on a wider scale, and have them go viral because of the picture of Putin on them.
“The real mystery is how these large shipments, estimated to be worth millions of dinars, washed up on Libyan shores in this way and who is behind them. I do not like conspiracy theories, but it seems a hidden side is trying to flood the country with narcotics. We need a reasonable and logical explanation from the authorities, and more effort to unveil the details of these floating drugs filling our beaches.”
Reviewed and proofread by Tooba Ali and Celine Assaf