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DRUG BUST

Jamaica seizes $80m worth of cocaine from cargo ship

Jamaica seizes $80m worth of cocaine from cargo ship
Illustrative image: Long regarded as a cocaine-consuming nation, Brazil has in recent years emerged as a major international exporter of the drug. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Bienvenido Velasco)

KINGSTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) — Jamaican authorities have seized an estimated $80m worth of cocaine from a ship at the port of Kingston in one of the country's biggest drug busts, authorities said.

Jamaican officials discovered the shipment hidden inside a cargo ship from South America, the Jamaica Constabulary Force said in a statement late on Saturday, putting its estimated street value at $80-million.

The search of the cargo ship yielded more than 1,500kg of cocaine, the police said. The goods were split into 50 bags containing 1,250 packages, Jamaica’s Defence Force said in a separate statement.

Transnational criminal organisations have long used Jamaica as a hub to move weapons and drugs, including sending cocaine to North America and Europe.

Jamaica’s Defence Force said it would keep fighting against criminals who seek to “take advantage of Jamaica’s geo-strategic significance in world trade by exploiting legitimate cargo.”

Neither the police nor the defence force named the ship found to be carrying the cocaine and no arrests have been made.

In October, global police agency Interpol said Jamaican authorities had made a record bust of 500kg of cocaine, worth around $25-million, slated to be shipped on a private jet to Canada.

(Reporting by Kate Chappell in Kingston; Editing by Daina Beth Solomon and Lisa Shumaker)

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