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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 November, 2004, 02:54 GMT
Massive haul of Colombia cocaine
By Jeremy McDermott
BBC Colombia corrrespondent

Colombian policeman examines seized cocaine
Colombia has fought a long war against cocaine
The US authorities have just unloaded 37 tonnes of Colombian cocaine seized at sea over the last two months.

The hauls represent the largest quantities of drugs ever captured and are worth over $2bn.

It is the greatest run of success in recent times for the US Coast Guard, which worked with other US agencies and the Colombian authorities.

If the drugs hadn't been intercepted, the proceeds would have fuelled Colombia's 40-year civil conflict.

The US Coast Guard, working with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and Colombian authorities, arrested 31Colombians during the operation.

Mr Uribe has given hope again to a country that had lost it all
Gustavo Quintero, Florida

The latest seizures bring the total of drugs captured over the year to a 110 tonnes.

The sheer bulk of the seized narcotics was astounding, piled up on wooden pallets chest-high.

The seizures also account for a sizeable chunk of Colombia's annual drug production, put at around 400 tonnes - almost 10%.

The Colombian cocaine trade is now controlled by Marxist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and the shattered remnants of the great drug cartels.

The proceeds from drugs mean that the Colombian rebels are the richest in the world.

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