Pubdate: Mon, 28 Aug 2000
Source: Irish Independent (Ireland)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
Author: Jan McGirk


An international police operation has resulted in the seizure of 27.5 tons 
of Colombian cocaine - one of the biggest drug busts on record.

Worth about one billion dollars, the seizure was made from a port on 
Venezuela's eastern Atlantic coast.

Most of the drug shipment was bound for the European black market, American 
customs officials said at the weekend.

``We wiped out a sprawling organisation whose tentacles reached around the 
world,'' Raymond Kelly, head of US Customs, said. ``Massive amounts of 
cocaine will be kept off the street.''

The haul was the culmination of a two-year investigation `Operation 
Journey' - in which a dozen countries shared information. Forty-three 
people were arrested and five commercial freighters were confiscated.

Authorities said the smugglers had dispatched 68 tons of cocaine, mostly to 
Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Albania, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
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