Honduras police seize $61,400 golden, bejeweled AK-47

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) - Honduran authorities have seized a US$50,000 (S$61,440) gold-plated AK-47 encrusted with diamonds and emeralds, which is believed to belong to Mexico's Zetas drug cartel, a top prosecutor said on Monday.

The assault rifle was among an arsenal concealed in false compartments within five of 11 vehicles that were seized Friday in a ranch outside Ciudad Jardin de Choloma, 300km north of the capital Tegucigalpa.

Police estimated that the 32 weapons - which included grenade launchers, grenades, night vision goggles and bullet-proof vests - are worth US$2 million. The AK-47 also came with two silver magazines.

Two people have been detained in the operation. "I can preliminarily say that these weapons belong to the Zetas, but this must be confirmed by the investigation that is under way," Marlen Banegas, a chief prosecutor, told a news conference.

The Zetas, a gang founded by military deserters, is one of the most violent cartels in Mexico, where a brutal drug war has killed 70,000 people in the last six years.

The group is known to also operate in Central America, which has become a major transit point for South American cocaine heading to the United States and beyond.

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