Bolivia reports biggest-ever cocaine seizure
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP)— Bolivia on Friday reported its biggest-ever cocaine seizure: more than eight tons of the drug apparently destined for the Netherlands and found in a massive shipment of timber last month.
The powdered cocaine had a street value of about $526 million, Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo announced.
The “largest cocaine seizure in the history of our country” was discovered on a truck on an Andean road on December 30, hidden among a Europe-bound lumber shipment, the minister said.
Four people were arrested, including a Colombian national Del Castillo described as a “big fish” in the drug trade.
Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of coca and cocaine after Colombia and Peru, according to the United Nations.
Bolivia allows the cultivation and marketing of coca leaves for chewing, use in tea and for religious rituals.
Authorities cap cultivation at 22,200 hectares (55,000 acres) to provide for the licit market, but some is siphoned off for illicit cocaine production.