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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 10:45 GMT
Mexico in record cocaine seizure
A Mexican policeman guards the confiscated cocaine in Manzanillo (1 November 2007)
The cocaine was found in more than 21,000 individual packages
Mexican authorities have made what they say is one of their largest drug seizures after finding 23.5 tons of cocaine at the port of Manzanillo.

The drugs, with an estimated street value of more than $400m (192m), were found in by the Mexican navy in cargo containers on a ship from Colombia.

The seizure dwarfed the 11.5 tons found last month at the port of Tampico.

The US ambassador said the seizures showed Congress should approve funding for a major new anti-drug initiative.

This seizure highlights the need for US Congressional action on the proposed Merida Initiative
Antonio Garza Jr
US ambassador to Mexico

"This seizure highlights the need for US Congressional action on the proposed Merida Initiative, which will provide both countries with more and better tools to co-ordinate our high-stakes battle against the cartels and their narco-trafficking activities," Antonio Garza Jr said in a statement.

Mr Garza also said the seizure was "further proof of President [Felipe] Calderon's commitment to cripple drug lords and bring them to justice".

Organised crime

The Mexican attorney-general's office initially said on Tuesday that the navy had discovered 11 tons of cocaine onboard the ship Esmeralda, which had arrived from Buenaventura in Colombia.

Map

But on Thursday, the navy announced it had found a second stash of cocaine amid the ship's cargo, bringing the total seizure to 23.5 tons.

The navy said the cocaine was found in more than 21,000 packages and that the final tally could rise further because officials had not yet finished searching all of the ship's containers.

"With actions such as this one, the Mexican government reaffirms the reach of the strategy being executed by this administration to break the operational networks and the business of organised crime groups dedicated to damaging the health, security and well-being of Mexican society," Public Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna said in a statement.

SEE ALSO
Mexico 'needs US action on drugs'
31 Oct 07 |  Americas
Bush eyes Mexico drug fight funds
22 Oct 07 |  Americas
US-Mexico drugs blitz 'success'
04 Oct 07 |  Americas
Life in jail for Mexico drugs man
18 Sep 07 |  Americas

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