Young people attempting to bring hashish or marijuana into Spain from North Africa have for some time been under the scrutiny of the Spanish police.
Young people attempting to bring hashish or marijuana into Spain from North Africa have for some time been under the scrutiny of the Spanish police. Hashish is readily available in many North Africa ports, such as Ceuta in Morocco, and the drugs are often brought illegally into Spain on the ferry crossing the Straits of Gibraltar.
To discourage the traffic, the law in Spain is strict. People convicted of carrying more than one pound (2.2 kg) of hashish are liable to six or more years in prison. There are a number of foreigners presently in Spanish jails on drug charges -- 40 of them Americans.
This film was shot by a cameraman of the American National Broadcasting Company. Filming in the prison was allowed by the Spanish authorities in the hope that it would discourage others from attempting to bring drugs into Spain.
SYNOPSIS: It's easy to buy a pound of hashish or marijuana at many North African ports. Here, at Ceuta in Morocco, the going price is about 12-and-a-half New Pence Sterling for a gram of hashish. There's almost no obvious risk in making the purchase either. Because of this, many young people can't resist.
Many who buy the drugs board the ferry to Spain. The hashish -- or hash as it's known -- can fetch up to 40 New Pence Sterling almost anywhere in Western Europe.
But what the buyers don't know is that many of the pushers are paid informers -- and those with drugs are often watched.
Plainclothesmen travel the ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar and look for signs of nervousness among the passengers. Anyone who looks suspicious will be carefully checked later.
The Spanish are getting tougher with those who try to bring drugs into the country. They're trying t??? discourage the international drug trafficking across their frontiers. To the police, people dressed differently are reportedly likely suspects.
Only about ten percent of cars are examined -- but young people are reportedly singled out.
Suspected cases and bedrolls are turned inside out and there are event body checks. When police find something that looks like hash it' tested immediately in a makeshift laboratory.
This suspect was reportedly a 21-year-old Spaniard who will probable get at least a six-year sentence because he was caught with one pound of the drug.
Under Spanish law that makes him technically a trafficker or pusher. The law also applies to foreigners.
There are many foreigners serving in Spanish prisons for drugs offences. At the moment, there are 40 American youths in jail in various parts of Spain. In this prison there are four. All of the four are under 25 and were caught possessing strong Moroccan marijuana. The Americans are appalled by the harshness of their sentences which range from 6 to ten years. The fines total more than 8,000 Pounds Sterling. All the Americans have appealed their sentences -- but lately, nearly all appeals are being turn down.
Filming in this prison was permit in the hope that it would discourage others. But prisoners said the scenes aren't typical and that conditions were worse. But it's reported, however, that conditions here are no worse than in many other prisons. The prisone??? also say their Embassy isn't doing all it can to help. But American officials say there's little that can be done once the prison gates have closed.