Three tonnes of cocaine seized in Uruguay's Montevideo

BUENOS AIRES (DPA) - Uruguayan authorities on Wednesday (Nov 20) confiscated over three tonnes of cocaine from an Africa-bound rice container in the port of Montevideo.

The container was originally from Paraguay and was set to stop in Tenerife, the largest of Spain's Canary Islands off West Africa, before finally arriving in Cotonou, in southern Benin, the National Customs Directorate said in a statement.

Authorities found 101 packets of cocaine, with a street value of more than US$740 million (S$1 billion), hidden in the rice cargo.

Stricter export control provisions were introduced at the Port of Montevideo just this week, authorities said.

The drugs were discovered after being identified by a new scanner bought after a container ship that went through the port was found to have carried over four tonnes of cocaine in August, local news outlet Subrayado reported.

German customs in Hamburg found and destroyed the cocaine aboard the container ship, which had set off from Montevideo and was heading to Antwerp in Belgium.