Colombia announces record 12-tonne cocaine seizure

BOGOTA (AFP) – President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday announced Colombia’s police had seized 12 tonnes of cocaine, which he said was the largest single drug seizure in the history of the country.

The drugs were discovered stored underground when around 400 anti-narcotics police stormed four farms in a banana-growing area in the northwestern department of Antioquia.

“Never before, since we began more than 40 years ago to fight against drug trafficking, have we made a seizure of this magnitude,” Santos told reporters. Santos said the seizure meant that police hauls of drugs in the year to date, 362 tonnes, had already surpassed the 317 tonnes seized in 2016.

Police estimated the value of the haul at around $360 million.

The cocaine was stored underground on the farms in the municipalities of Chigorodo and Carepa, they said.

They said the drugs belonged to Colombia’s most-wanted man, Dario Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel”, who is the chief of the country’s largest drug-trafficking gang, the Gulf Clan.