Record two tonnes of cocaine worth $337 million seized in British Virgin Islands

Police officers on a covert operation discovered 2,353kg of cocaine in a container unit. PHOTO: MICK MATTHEWS/TWITTER

LONDON (REUTERS) - A record 2.35 tonne haul of cocaine worth more than US$250 million (S$337 million) has been discovered in the British Virgin Islands after a covert operation that led to the arrest of one local police officer, the islands' police force said.

When police arrived at the property, several people fled but officers discovered 2,353kg of cocaine in a container unit.

"This seizure has a conservative estimated 'street value' of some US$250 million," British Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Michael Matthews said in a statement.

"It is the largest seizure ever made in the BVI (British Virgin Islands) and the largest single seizure in the history of the RVIPF (Royal Virgin Islands Police Force). It is also potentially one of the largest ever seized by a UK force," he said.

Potential production of pure cocaine hydrochloride in Colombia was up by 1.5 per cent last year to 1,137 metric tonnes, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in June, even as the areas planted with primary ingredient coca decreased.

Despite decades of anti-narcotics efforts, Colombia remains one of the world's top cocaine producers.

Leftist rebels, crime gangs and former right-wing paramilitaries are all involved in production and transport to consumers based largely in North America and Europe.

The British Virgin Islands is a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico.

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