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Bolivian police make record cocaine bust

August 2, 2016

Authorities in Bolivia have intercepted a truck carrying 7.5 tons of cocaine bound to the US, officials said. The truck's driver was released after police determined he did not know the content of the shipment.

Drogenfund Bolivien
Bolivian security forces have repeatedly seized cocaine shipments, including this one in January 2016Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Felcn

The cocaine would fetch over $350 million (313 million euro) in the US, Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero said on Monday.

Police discovered the 7.5-ton load in the town of Patacamaya last weekend, marking the biggest ever drug bust in the history of the South American country. The town is located along a remote mountain pass that links Bolivia with Chilean ports.

Smugglers packed the drugs inside a metal container and hid it with the cargo of a mineral ulexite, driven on a tractor-trailer truck. The container was to be shipped to Honduras, and eventually to the US.

The authorities arrested three people, but released the truck driver after concluding he had no knowledge of the drugs.

Bolivia is the third largest producer of cocaine in the world, after Colombia and Peru, and an important transit point for the substance. Earlier this year, Colombia also announced a record-breaking bust of eight tons of cocaine.

dj/kl (dpa, Reuters, AP)