Colombia seizes record 8 tons of cocaine from crime ring

2016-05-16 09:04
A Colombian police officer stands guard over eight tons of seized cocaine in Turbo, Antioquia department. (Colombian Police, AFP)

A Colombian police officer stands guard over eight tons of seized cocaine in Turbo, Antioquia department. (Colombian Police, AFP)

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Bogota – Colombian police said on Sunday they seized their largest domestic haul ever of illegal drugs: 8 tons of cocaine from the Usuga Clan, the country's leading organised crime ring.

"Congratulations @PoliciaColombia: operation in Turbo seized the greatest amount in our history," President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Twitter.

Police said in a statement that early on Sunday in Turbo, in the northwestern Uraba region near the border with Panama, they found the cache "of almost eight tons of cocaine belonging to the Usuga Clan," that was hidden on a banana plantation.

Three suspects were arrested and another three escaped, the statement read.

Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said that nearly 1.5 tons of cocaine was wrapped "and ready to go out to the export market."

He said this was the largest seizure ever of cocaine on Colombian territory, though there may have been slightly larger cocaine seizures at sea.

Authorities say the Usuga Clan, which emerged after the mass demobilisation of right-wing paramilitaries a decade ago, ships tons of cocaine from Colombia to Central America and on to the United States.

The South American country is the leading producer of coca, the raw material from which cocaine is processed.

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