Record cocaine haul seized by police in Brasilia

BRASÍLIA – Brazilian transport police said they had seized 1.1 tonnes of cocaine from a tanker truck near the capital Brasilia, a record haul for the region.

“Police opened the tank that was meant to be transporting vegetable oil and found 1,100 tablets of about a kilogramme each of a substance similar to cocaine,” the police said in a statement.

Approached by police near the town of Cristalina, around 130 kilometres from Brasilia, the truck’s driver raised suspicions due to his “anxiety” and the unusual route he was taking.

The driver told police he had left Sao Paulo state in the south east and was heading to the northeastern state of Bahia.

Both states are on the coast while Brasilia is almost 1,000 kilometres inland.

According to preliminary statistics obtained by Globonews television station, Brazilian customs seized more than 57 tonnes of cocaine in 2019 – a record and 82 per cent increase on the 2018 figure.

The biggest hauls have come from the port of Santos in Sao Paulo state from where the majority of drug cargoes leave for Europe and Africa.