Biggest Ever Cocaine Bust In Columbia – 8.8 Tons
According to the Columbian government, yesterday law enforcement confiscated 8.8 tons (17,500 pounds) of drugs in the biggest cocaine bust ever, along the Panama border.
Juan Manuel Santos, President of Columbia via Twitter:
“The biggest seizure of drugs in history. A hit against criminals.”
Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas states that the cocaine belonged to the Clan Usuga gang:
“The street value in New York is an estimated 250 million US dollars, so this is a blow to the finances of the Usuga family and narcotraffickers in general in the Uraba region of Colombia.”
The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward for capture of the leader, Daniel “Otoniel” Usuga. The Clan Usuga is a criminal gang heavily involved in drug trafficking.
Also, the U.S. Justice Department claims that “Otoniel” also heads up Los Urbanos, a “heavily armed, extremely violent criminal organization” which consists of former members of terrorist organizations.
According to United Nations reports, Columbia produces over 480 tons of cocaine every year. In 2015, law enforcement seized 278 tons.
Columbia is also the world’s #1 producer of coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived. More than 440 tons of cocaine were exported in 2014, according the U.N.
The cocaine was discovered in a banana plantation in an underground hideaway in the Turbo municipality.
On Sunday, soon after sunrise, 50 police commandos and two Black Hawk helicopters descended onto the plantation. There they found 359 canvas bags containing cocaine packages, hidden in a cubicle under a cement cover about 2.5 meters underground.
The drugs are valued at around $240 million. Four people have been arrested so far in connection. In addition to the drugs, a number of weapons were recovered.
According to CNN, one of the arrested goes by the alias “Micolta”, and in addition to his involvement with the cocaine bust, is also charged with ordering murders and extortion.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology