Cocaine stash found in steamroller

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mexico City, Feb 20 (IANS/EFE) Mexican security forces confiscated more than 630 kg of cocaine hidden inside a steamroller in the southeastern city of Ciudad del Carmen, authorities said.

The cocaine seizure, in which Mexican authorities discovered 549 packets of cocaine, each weighing approximately 1,150 grams each, was the largest thus far this year, the defence secretariat said in a statement Saturday.

A group of police officers stopped a semitrailer carrying the steamroller Friday at a routine checkpoint on the Ciudad del Carmen-Villahermosa stretch of Federal Highway 180.

The police were verifying the documentation for the vehicle and the heavy machinery it was carrying, but “during the inspection and questioning the driver appeared extremely nervous”, the secretariat said.

The officers requested assistance from army soldiers and navy personnel, who used a molecular detection device to discover the cocaine hidden inside the steamroller.

The driver and the drugs were turned over to federal prosecutors.

Most of the drugs shipped across Mexican territory - a large proportion of which are destined for the US - are transported overland and hidden in private automobiles or cargo trucks.

Drug-related violence has claimed more than 34,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarised the struggle against Mexico’s cartels, deploying tens of thousands of army soldiers and Federal Police officers nationwide.


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