Page last updated at 01:04 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 02:04 UK

Chile seizes elderly 'drug women'

By Gideon Long
BBC News, Santiago

Line of cocaine and a razor blade [file pic]
The women allegedly stashed illegal drugs close to a police facility

Police in Chile have arrested two elderly women after finding a stash of cocaine and cash in their house.

Maria Valdebenito, 80, who is bed-ridden, and Giselle Gilbert, 72, were charged with drug trafficking offences.

Police raided the house at night and found 2kg (4.4lb) of cocaine and around $65,000 (£45,000) in cash.

Authorities suspect the two women have been operating a drug-trafficking ring in the area for years despite their house being close to a police academy.

Prosecutors say that Mrs Valdebenito received the drugs from her contacts and passed them to her younger and more agile accomplice to sell.

The house that the women allegedly used as their base is just a few metres from Chile's biggest police academy.

Prosecutors say the women should be taken in to preventative custody while their case is considered.

But, because of their frail state of health, they might be placed under house arrest instead.

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