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EFE News Service
via NewsEdge Corporation

Colombia's National Police said it arrested three suspects and seized 10.5 tons of cocaine that were being smuggled from the Caribbean city of Barranquilla to the Mexican port of Veracruz, marking the biggest cocaine seizure ever on land.
The cocaine was found Saturday in two shipping containers that were being moved into the port of Barranquilla, National Police director Gen. Oscar Naranjo said in a press conference.
The drugs seized in "Operation Veracruz" had a street value of between $150 million and $200 million, Naranjo said, adding that the cocaine belonged to drug trafficker Daniel "El Loco" Barrera.
"This is a structural blow to the criminal gang led by 'El Loco' Barrera," the police chief said.
Naranjo said undercover officers from the Dijin judicial police agency spent six months tracking the suspects in charge of the shipment.
"Men from the drug enforcement police, after six months of surveillance, managed to seized the largest cache of cocaine, of 10.5 tons, in the war on drugs," the National Police said in a statement.
So far in 2008, Colombian authorities have seized about 105 tons of illegal drugs.
Colombia's cocaine production totaled more than 600 tons in 2007, U.S. drug czar John Walters said in Bogota on Oct. 9.
From 2001, when a record 900 tons of cocaine were produced, to 2007, output has fallen by 24 percent, the head of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy said.
Over the summer, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in its annual report that the area of land in the Andean nation planted with coca - the source of cocaine - grew by 27 percent in 2007.
The UNODC report said that while in 2006 the area planted with coca totaled 78,000 hectares (195,000 acres), by 2007 it had increased to 99,000 hectares.
A third of the crop comes from just 10 municipalities around the country, according to the study.
Despite the increase in coca cultivation, according to UNODC, production of cocaine in Colombia remains about the same, at some 600 tons per year, because coca growers are using smaller and more dispersed plots that provide less coca.
Colombia, Peru and Bolivia - in that order - are the world's main producers of coca.

Story From: AP Wire Service
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