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Colombia Drug Bust Nets 8 Tons of Cocaine, a Historic Haul

Image: Colombia Drug Bust Nets 8 Tons of Cocaine, a Historic Haul
A Colombian national policeman stands guard in front of packages of cocaine, which were confiscated in Turbo province near the border with Panama, May 15, 2016. (Colombian Police/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 May 2016 09:23 AM

Authorities in Colombia netted 8 tons of cocaine on Sunday in the country's largest drug bust in history.

The seizure, which took place on a banana plantation, involved the deployment of 50 commandos and two Black Hawk helicopters, The Associated Press reported. The cocaine allegedly belonged to a gang known as the Clan Usuga and was destined for the Caribbean and the United States.

The drugs, worth about $240 million, were discovered near the Panama border in Turbo, NBC News reported.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos praised the drug bust on Twitter, posting: "The biggest seizure of drugs in history. A hit against criminals."

Larger busts have occurred offshore, however, including a 2007 seizure of nearly 20 tons of cocaine by the U.S. Coast Guard, the AP noted.

Three suspects were arrested in the raid and three escaped, the BBC reported.

A search for the gang's suspected leader, Dario Antonio Úsuga David, was announced last month, with a $5 million reward offered for his capture, CNN reported.

More than 2,000 officers are searching for the man, who is also known by his alias, Otoniel. The gang itself is also known as Los Urabeños.

The Clan Usuaga gang is thought to have about 2,000 active members, and about 6,700 members have been arrested during the past five years, the BBC said. The gang has been accused of crimes including extortion, illegal mining, forced disappearances, and murder.
 
Colombian police have seized more than 86 tons of cocaine this year.

The country produces about 487 tons of cocaine a year, and authorities seized 278 tons in 2015, NBC reported, citing the United Nations.

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Authorities in Colombia netted 8 tons of cocaine on Sunday in the country's largest drug bust in history.
colombia, drug, bust, eight tons, cocaine
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2016-23-17
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 09:23 AM
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