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Avocado Shipment Conceals $50M Cocaine Cache

A Colombian drug-trafficking organization attempted to conceal more than $50 million worth of cocaine within shipments of avocados, but their scheme was thwarted when police discovered 1.7 tons of the illicit substance hidden within a fruit consignment destined for Portugal, the Daily Mail reported.

National Police Director General William Salamanca said the interception occurred on Monday during a routine inspection of containers in the Caribbean port city of Santa Marta, Colombia. The drugs, valued at approximately $50.8 million in the United States, were intended for Setúbal, located 30 miles south of Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.

Video footage shared by Salamanca depicted officers extracting sealed cocaine packages from boxes filled with dozens of avocados.

Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velásquez said on X that the shipment, which contained 1,696 kilos, likely belonged to the Gulf Clan, also known as the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the nation’s most dominant criminal syndicate comprised of former paramilitary leaders.

The Gulf Clan’s previous leader, Dario “Otoniel” Úsuga, was apprehended in October 2021 and extradited to the United States in May 2022. He subsequently pleaded guilty to smuggling 110 tons of cocaine before a federal court judge in New York in January 2023, resulting in a $216 million fine and a 45-year prison sentence in August 2023.

The National Police said in a statement that the interception prevented the distribution of 4,250,000 doses of cocaine. Additionally, authorities have seized over 80 tons of cocaine in the first three months of 2024.

Colombia, a leading cocaine producer, faces persistent pressure from the United States to curb drug output. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, coca crops in Colombia expanded to cover 568,000 acres in 2022, representing a 13% increase from 2021.

Source: Newsmax