Uruguayan police seized 444 kilos of cocaine dumped from a light aircraft in Tacuarembo. The incident was reported via Twitter by the director of Security and Citizen Coexistence of the Interior Ministry, Santiago Gonzalez. It represented a record for the department in terms of seizures.
The 14 seized packages had been dropped from a small plane, picked up by a pickup truck, and then transported in a firewood truck. Following an investigation, the department police were able to stop the truck on Route 59 with the work of Rural Security officers.
Three people were arrested: the driver of the pickup truck, the driver of the truck, and the person who informed the two previous ones of the place where the drugs had fallen. Two, 24 and 36 years old, respectively – were charged with 120 days for illicit drug trafficking. Another 20-year-old man was sentenced to 16 years in prison – seven years of effective imprisonment – for assisting in drug trafficking activities.
This seizure took place within the framework of Operation Albania -still active and led by the Narcotics Prosecutor, Mónica Ferrero- which has already included raids in different Uruguayan departments.
The bricks of cocaine seized bore the Youtube logo and Arabic words used to guarantee the quality of the product, reported El Pais. The Interior Ministry presumes the drugs were of good quality and were to be sent to Europe.
According to Deputy Interior Minister Guillermo Maciel, the value of the shipment once placed abroad, would be over USD 15 million. “We are talking that in the Uruguayan market, if this drug were to remain here, it would exceed US$ 3 and a half million; if it were divided into doses in the national market, it would reach US$ 7 million,” he explained.
Maciel said that “it is a probability” that the drug would not remain in Uruguay but that this is only “a hypothesis. Meanwhile, he assured that the shipment’s origin is unknown: “It is part of the investigation and intelligence procedure that is being carried out in coordination with the intelligence agencies of the other Mercosur countries, specifically with Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.”
On the other hand, Gonzalez referred to the current management of the Interior in dialogue with El Pais: “Who notifies the beginning of this operation is the Rural Security Brigade, which we created this year. With this, the presence of the State was returned to localities where there was nothing more than a trap door”.