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Colombia Just Made Its Biggest Domestic Cocaine Bust Ever

Almost 8 metric tons of the drug were found stashed on a banana plantation.

16/05/2016 7:58 PM AEST | Updated 16/05/2016 7:58 PM AEST
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The haul, estimated to be worth $240 million, was found during a raid on a banana plantation near Turbo, northwestern Colombia.

Police in Colombia just seized a record amount of cocaine in a single domestic bust.

Agents found almost 8 metric tons of the illegal drug -- worth an estimated $240 million -- during a raid on a banana plantation near the northwestern coastal town of Turbo, the BBC reported.

Agents, supported by two Black Hawk helicopters, raided the plantation last week and found the drugs stashed inside an underground shelter, which was covered in cement.

Nearly 1.5 tons of cocaine were already wrapped and "ready for export" to Central America. From there, the drugs could be smuggled into the U.S., Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said on Sunday.

"We have had other marine operations that have seen more kilos seized," Villegas said in a statement. "But this goes down in history as a milestone in the fight against drug trafficking."

Three suspected members of the "Usuga Clan" gang were detained during the 9-hour operation. Three other suspects escaped.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted his congratulations to the police:

"Operation in Turbo seized the greatest amount of drugs in our history," he posted on Sunday. "A crushing blow to the criminals."

According to the Daily Telegraph, the "Usuga Clan" emerged following the demobilization of right-wing paramilitaries in the early 2000s. With more than 2,000 active members, the gang is believed to be responsible for shipping hundreds of tons of cocaine annually. 

Authorities in Colombia have already seized 68 metric tons of cocaine this year.

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