Saturday 27 December 2014

Peru makes record 7.7 tonne cocaine haul

Published 02/09/2014 | 10:18

Police carry blocks of seized cocaine as they present it to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Police announced that they seized 7.7 metric tons (8.5 tons) of cocaine in the northern town of Trujillo on Aug. 26, and that it's the largest seizure of cocaine in Peru's history. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Police carry blocks of seized cocaine as they present it to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Peru's Interior Minister Daniel Urresti talks with the press during the presentation of seized drugs at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Blocks of seized cocaine are presented to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Blocks of seized cocaine are presented to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Peruvian police have put on display what they call the largest cocaine haul ever in the South American nation.

The 7.7 metric tons (8.5 tons) of cocaine were flown to the capital Lima on Monday after being seized in a raid last week.

Police carry blocks of seized cocaine as they present it to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Police announced that they seized 7.7 metric tons (8.5 tons) of cocaine in the northern town of Trujillo on Aug. 26, and that it's the largest seizure of cocaine in Peru's history. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Police carry blocks of seized cocaine as they present it to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Officers wearing white jackets and surgical masks unloaded the boxes from a police transport plane at a Lima airport hangar.

Interior Minister Daniel Urresti showed the seizure from a stage, a banner behind him proclaiming "Historic Blow to Illegal Drug Trafficking."

ADDS THE WORD "METRIC" TO TONS AND THE TONS EQUIVALENT -  Peru's Interior Minister Daniel Urresti talks with the press during the presentation of seized drugs at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. According to police, the packages are part of a 7.7 metric tons (8.5 tons) cocaine seizure made in the northern town of Trujillo on Aug. 26, and is the largest cocaine seizure in Peru's history. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Peru's Interior Minister Daniel Urresti talks with the press during the presentation of seized drugs at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Authorities found the plastic-wrapped cocaine bricks amid chunks of coal near the northern port of Trujillo. Six Peruvians and two Mexicans were arrested.

Police said the drugs had been destined for Spain and Belgium.

Since 2012, Peru has been the world's top producer of cocaine.

Convicted Northern Irish drugs mule Michaella McCollum Connolly and her Scottish companion Meliissa Reid were jailed for six years and eight months after their arrest in Peru last year.

McCollum (20) and Reid (21) were caught last August trying to smuggle £1.5m of cocaine out of Peru and were jailed after pleading guilty.

It was reported yesterday that drugs mule McCollum Connolly could be freed next year under a new law designed to empty Peru's crowded jails of foreign inmates.

The head of the country's prison service, José Luis Pérez Guadalupe, said the Dungannon woman and her Scottish pal Melissa Reid could apply for early release under an 'expulsion law' once they have served a third of their sentences.

Mr Pérez Guadalupe told The Mail on Sunday: "This law was created for people who are not the big fishes, like those girls, who are not in a criminal organisation."

Both women are still hoping to be transferred home through Britain's extradition treaty with Peru. But Melissa's father Billy said: "This is great in that it's another route for her to come home. It's also positive in that she wouldn't have to do any time over here, or, we understand, have a criminal record."

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