Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Cocaine found in Colombia sculptures bound for Spain

Fernando Botero statue at the Botero Park in Medellin, Colombia - 10 February 2010
Many of Botero's statues are of oversized figures

Police in Colombia say they have found 16kg (35lb) of cocaine inside replicas of three sculptures by artist Fernando Botero being shipped to Spain.

The cocaine had been mixed into the clay of the sculptures as they were being cast, police said. No arrests were made during the operation.

The statues were found in a Bogota warehouse ahead of shipment to Madrid.

Colombia's cartels are using ever more sophisticated smuggling techniques as they target more European markets.

Prices for cocaine are higher in Europe than the US and the chances of extradition much lower, say correspondents.

"This is a sophisticated concealment system for the drugs in replicas of sculptures by a renowned Colombian artist," a police statement said.

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