Sat, 05 Oct 2013 04:30:00 GMT | By IANS

Three tonne cocaine seized in Ecuador

The drug was camouflaged in packages hidden in jute bags found in the water tank of a house


Three tonne cocaine seized in Ecuador (© Reuters)

Quito: Ecuador's anti-narcotic agents seized at least three tonne cocaine in an operation in coastal province of Santa Elena, Ecuador's Interior Minister Jose Serrano said Friday. "The amount of drug is significantly increasing," said the minister via Twitter after 11 people were arrested in the operation starting Thursday night. Serrano said those arrested are related to the most powerful Colombian paramilitary and drug trafficking band called Los Urabenos.

"This is one of the most important blows against the drug mafias in recent years. We will no longer allow these actions of the criminal organisations," he added. The anti-narcotic agents told media that the drug was camouflaged in packages hidden in jute bags found in the water tank of a house. More details of the anti-drug operation will be made available later. At the site, there was an audio-video security system to identify people who entered.

The undercover agents said the drug was allegedly ready to be sent out of the country by sea. The interior ministry said so far this year 38 tonnes of drugs have been seized, while in 2012, a total of 42 tonnes were seized. In 2011, 26 tonnes of drugs were seized, compared with 18 tonnes in 2010. In 2009, 68 tonnes of drugs were seized by authorities, according to figures of the Ecuadorian government.

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