Video: Four Tons of Marijuana Seized from Piraeus Shipping Container

seizure of marijuana hidden in shipping container
Container terminal in Piraeus (file photo)

Published Apr 23, 2021 4:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts to smuggle large amounts of illegal narcotics through the ports of Eastern Europe are continuing. Days after the Croatian authorities reported one of their largest seizures of cocaine being smuggled through one of their ports, Greece authorities reported a large seizure of cannabis last week at the port of Piraeus. In both cases, the Eastern European ports were being used as intermediary stops in an effort to avoid stricter enforcement protocols as Western European ports.

Greece’s Drug Prosecution Department of the Economic Crimes Department (SDOE) announced the seizure of over 4 tons of marijuana that was being smuggled through the port of Piraeus in a shipping container. They placed an estimated value on the seizure of approximately $40 million.

Acting on information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration passed via the embassy in Athens and with cooperation from the General Directorate of Drug Prosecution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Greek authorities targeted a container arriving in Piraeus on April 14 on an unnamed containership that docked in the port after a call in Lebanon. 

The Bill of Lading declared that the container was transporting an industrial cupcake making machine. It was scheduled to be transshipped on a train passing through Northern Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, with a final destination in Bratislava, Slovakia.


(video and photos courtesy of Drug Prosecution Department of the Operational Directorate of SDOE)


Greek authorities used an x-ray machine on the container and discovered a vault hidden under a false floor in the container and a manhole that had been welded shut. Opening the storage space under the floor of the container, they found 129 nylon bags containing processed cannabis as well as 282 bulk packages also of processed cannabis.

It was the second large seizure in which the Saudi authorities had worked with the Greek drug agencies. Previously they had captured 1.3 tons of cannabis in a container in the port of Piraeus in January 2020. That container also arrived from Lebanon and in that case, its final destination was Misurata, Libya.

No arrests were reported so far in the current case with Greek authorities saying the investigation is ongoing into the shipment.


Drugs were hidden under a cupcake machine in the shipping container


More than 4 tons of marijuana was seized 

(photos courtesy of Drug Prosecution Department of the Operational Directorate of SDOE)