BOGOTA, Colombia - Police in Colombia have discovered 12 tonnes of cocaine believed to be worth $360 million in what became the country’s biggest ever drugs bust.
The police have stated that the huge stash of drugs belonged to Dario Antonia Usuga, the chief of Colombia’s largest drug-trafficking gang, the Gulf Clan and Colombia’s most-wanted man.
The drugs were reportedly being stored underground and were discovered when around 400 anti-narcotics police stormed four banana plantations in the north of the country.
The plantations were close to the routes used to smuggle cocaine to the U.S.
The police revealed that the packages would break down into 11 million hits of one gram each which would equate to $660 million at an average street price of around $60 per gram.
In a statement to reporters, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said it was the largest drugs haul in a single police operation.
He said, “Never before, since we began more than 40 years ago to fight against drug trafficking, have we made a seizure of this magnitude. Thanks to a police operation with overseas intelligence, from friendly countries, the largest seizure in history was made.”
He added that the seizure meant that police hauls of drugs in the year to date, 362 tons, had already surpassed the 317 tons seized in 2016.
Further, investigating officers revealed that the operation is part of an offensive against the powerful Gulf Clan, the drug trafficking gang which emerged from the remnants of right-wing paramilitary groups that demobilised in 2006.
For years now, security forces have been trying to capture Usuga, who is also known by the alias Otoniel.
Police have said that they have arrested four people in connection with the drugs haul but are still searching for Otoniel.
In September, Otoniel told the government he wanted to turn himself in after the U.S. offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture or death.
The government has said that over 1,500 members of the gang have been arrested this year and its second-in-command has been killed.
Reports noted that the Gulf Clan is thought to account for 70 percent of Colombia’s cocaine production.