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Colombia Seizes 12 Tons of Cocaine in Its Biggest-Ever Bust

Colombian police guard more than 12 tons of seized cocaine in Apartado, Colombia. HANDOUT REUTERS

Police in Colombia have made what they claim is the biggest single seizure of cocaine in the country’s history: a whopping 12 tons.

They found the drugs hidden in banana plantations near the Panamanian border. President Juan Manuel Santos said the stash had an estimated U.S. market value of $360 million.

This haul reportedly belonged to Dairo Úsuga, the leader of the powerful Gulf Clan, which said in September that it is ready to submit itself to justice. Úsuga, known as Otoniel, reportedly told Santos that he was willing to hand himself in.

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According to reports a couple weeks back, the surrender terms are being formulated.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos looks on after the seizure of more than 12 tons of cocaine in Apartado, Colombia November 8, 2017. Colombian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

The Colombian authorities said they had arrested four people in this latest raid, and that they had arrested more than 1,500 members of the gang since the start of the year.

The previous record for a single cocaine haul in Colombia was just under eight tons, which were seized—again from Úsuga’s gang, and again from a banana plantation—in May last year.

Last year, the amount of cocaine seized by the authorities totalled 378.3 tons, which was up by half from the year before. The United Nations reckons Colombia produces as much as 646 tons of the drug each year.

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