RABAT, July 22 (Reuter)  Five Moroccans who kept cocaine washed up on a
beach after being jettisoned by traffickers aboard a crippled boat were
sentenced on Tuesday to between five and 10 years' imprisonment. 

Nearly six tonnes of cocaine has washed up over a 200km (125mile) stretch
of Morocco's Atlantic coast since June 21. Experts have estimated the drugs
could be worth $3 billion after treatment and addition of other elements. 

The Moroccan news agency MAP said Casablanca criminal court jailed Brahim
Oumrait, who already had three convictions for dealing in hashish, for 10
years. He was also fined. 

Police found 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs) of cocaine at his house after a search sparked
by finding Oumrait with hashish and a few grammes of cocaine on him. 

Three others were jailed for eight years and a fifth for five years on
charges of possessing cocaine, which totalled more than 14 kg (31 lbs), the
agency said. 

The court also ordered confiscation of the belongings of all five and banned
them from Casablanca for a period of five years. 

Four Colombians and a German detained in Morocco are to be tried on charges
of trafficking the cocaine which came from Colombia. An international arrest
warrant has also been issued for two Spaniards. 

On Tuesday, the Moroccan newspaper l'Opinion said six members of one family
had been sentenced to five years in jail for holding on to seven kg (15 lbs)
of the cocaine. 

Many Moroccans have been involved in helping the search for the drug packages
swept ashore and Interior Minister Driss Basri on Monday praised them for
their help and for handing the packages over to the authorities. 

13:24 072297