Colombia’s record-breaking drug bust

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On Wednesday, Colombian police seized 12 tons of cocaine, making it the biggest bust in the country’s history. The value of the cocaine is around $360 million USD. As a result, the haul breaks down to an average street price of $60 per gram.

The cocaine was discovered underneath four farms near Columbia’s border with Panama. President Juan Manuel Santos said the drugs belong to Dario Antonio Usuga a.k.a. Otoniel. Usuga is the head of the Gulf Clan, a drug-trafficking, neo-paramilitary group.

The Gulf Clan has become one of the biggest threats to the country’s security after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to peace last year. Most of the estimated 1,500  members have also served in the ranks of right-wing paramilitary groups. According to the police report, four members of the Gulf Clan have been arrested in connection with the drug bust. The United States is still looking for the leader of the Clan and have offered $5 million for any information leading to his arrest.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Columbia is one of the world’s leading producers of cocaine. Police have already confiscated 362 tons of coke, beating 2016’s total with 317 tons. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime claim coca cultivation territories have increased by 52 percent last year. The amount has gone from 96,000 hectares in 2015 to 146,000 hectares in 2016. Even with peace, the country has seen a large increase in cocaine production.

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