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Italian police have found 20 tons of cannabis resin after draining the fuel tanks of a Panama-flagged ship. Officials became suspicious after observing the 11 Montenegrin crew members, DW reported.

A crew of 11 Montenegrins attempted to smuggle 20 tons of hashish across the Mediterranean before they were intercepted by Italy's maritime police, Italian authorities said on Thursday.

Officials estimate the drug's value at somewhere between €150 million and €200 million ($173 million and $231 million).

"The Mediterranean Sea again is confirmed to be one of the world's largest arteries for illegal trafficking," police said. "The results of the operation are the fruit of attentive intelligence gathering and analysis of the ship's routes."

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