LIMA, Peru – Peruvian police displayed in a Lima airport police hangar on Monday what officials called the largest cocaine haul ever in the Andean nation, 8.5 tons.
Seized in a raid last week, the drugs were flown to the capital Monday and unloaded in boxes from an Antonov police transport plane by officers wearing white jackets and surgical masks.
Interior Minister Daniel Urresti, flanked by the police chief and counternarcotics commander, touted the seizure from a stage set up in the hangar, a banner behind him proclaiming "Historic Blow to Illegal Drug Trafficking."
Authorities last week found the plastic-wrapped cocaine bricks inserted and sealed inside chunks of coal in a rural home near the northern port of Trujillo. Six Peruvians and two Mexicans were arrested.
Police said the drugs had been destined for Spain and Belgium and said agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were involved in the operation.
Previously, Peru's top cocaine seizure was 6.6 tons discovered in January 2002 in a truck in the southern state of Arequipa bound for a fishing vessel at the port of Ilo, from where it was to sail to Mexico, the counternarcotics police said in response to an Associated Press query.
Since 2012, Peru has been the world's top producer of cocaine.