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Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 11:22 UK

Mexico seizes $26m in 'drug cash'

Mexican soldier guards drugs cash
Mexico put the seized cash on show, but under tight security

The Mexican military have confiscated $26m (£14m) in cash believed to belong to the notorious Sinaloa drugs cartel, officials say.

It is thought to be Mexico's second-highest cash seizure ever.

A defence ministry spokesman said soldiers had found the money stuffed inside cardboard boxes at a house in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state.

They also confiscated more than 2kg(4lb) of marijuana and two guns with ammunition during a raid on the house.

Three people fled the scene and no-one has been arrested, officials say.

Transit route

Sinaloa state, in the north-west of the country, is part of a key transit route for drugs from Latin America into the US.

Defence ministry official Gen Luis Oliver said documents found in the house named a member of a gang allegedly led by an associate of fugitive Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin Guzman.

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Gen Oliver said the cash seizure was dwarfed only by one other in Mexico - when police seized $207m (£115m) in March 2007 linked to a drug-trafficking ring.

In the last two years, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 40,000 troops, along with federal police, in a crackdown on drug gangs in the country.

Despite a string of seizures of money, drugs and arms, increasing cartel violence has claimed more than 2,700 lives this year.


SEE ALSO
Scores held in global drug bust
17 Sep 08 |  Americas
Mexico's drug killings 'soaring'
17 Aug 08 |  Americas
Colombia says US lenient on drugs
02 Aug 08 |  Americas

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