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More Than 8 Tons Of Cocaine Seized In Massive Colombian Drug Bust

Colombian national police seized some 8 tons of cocaine along the country's border with Panama over the weekend. Officials say the drugs were discovered in an underground chamber beneath a banana plantation.

Authorities in Colombia say they believe the drugs belong to a crime gang that U.S. officials are targeting — the Clan Usuga gang. The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward for the capture of the gang's leader, Dario Antonio Usuga David.

The Colombian Ministry of National Defense posted photos on Twitter of packages of cocaine seized in the bust:

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted that the bust is "the biggest seizure of drugs in history." He said it was "a hit against criminals."

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the final stage of the operation began at 6 a.m. local time Sunday in the town of Turbo. Some 50 officers stormed the banana farm and found the drugs hidden under a layer of cement in a small building.

Colombian police released this video via Twitter showing drugs being pulled out of a hiding spot:

Still, in the great scheme of things, losing 8 tons of cocaine is not likely to put Colombian gangs out of the cocaine business. Colombia produced 442 metric tons of the drug in 2014, according to a United Nations report released last summer.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996 and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.
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