The forces have besieged the hideouts of the gang members - Courtesy of the Interior Ministry
CAIRO - 13 February 2019: Security forces managed to arrest the ringleader of a smuggling network operating in Matrouh that used to smuggle hashish from the northern west coast of the country to clients in Cairo and Giza, according to the police.
The Interior Ministry said, according to a statement published on Tuesday,that the ringleader was arrested while attempting to elude the police, adding that his car was loaded with 36 hashish bundles.
Hashish is a popular drug made from cannabis, and is on the list of prohibited drugs in Egypt.
The forces also arrested the leader's first assistant and another member of the smuggling network, and seized a total of 144 hashish bundles possessed by both of them, the statement added.
The police managed to seize one of the gang members, while possessing 250 tons of hashish in his car, referring that another smuggler was killed in fire exchange with the security forces, according to the statement.
The forces besieged the hideouts of the gang members, in efforts to put an end to the activities of the smuggling network, the statement read, stressing that security forces are still pursuing the remaining members.
Drug smugglers in new law
The Egyptian government approved in January a bill that stipulates sentencing to death those who"import or export synthetic substances that cause harm to the body, mind or the nervous system," in efforts to limit prohibited drug trade.
The bill approved during a ministerial meeting headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli modifications to some articles of Law no. 182 of 1960 on combating narcotic abuse and illegal drug trade. Formerly, the law stipulated punishing drug essence importers and exporters by life imprisonment and a fine ranging from LE 3,000 to 10,000.
The new bill punishes possessors of such substances by a rigorous life sentence and a fine ranging between LE 100,000 ($5,664) and LE 500,000 ($28,319).
Owners of places prepared for illicit drug consumption will also face rigorous imprisonment and a fine of not less than LE 200,000 and not more than LE 300,000, according to the bill.
Concerning drug abuse, the bill stipulates sentencing illicit drug consumers to at least one year in prison and a fine of not more than LE 10,000 ($566) and not less than LE 1,000 ($57).
The bill has been approved with the aim of confronting the spread of all types of narcotics, particularly synthetic substances which seriously harm the society, specifically the youths, according to an official statement.
The modified law was issued in 1960 during the term of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The law names 45 substances that are considered by the Egyptian law to be prohibited narcotics, mainly raw opium, all salts of morphine, raw cocaine, and cannabis' extracts including Hashish.