Discovery of coca plants in southern Mexico state a 1st for the country, authorities say

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Officials say the seizure of 1,639 coca plants in southern Mexico marks the first known instance of the raw ingredient of cocaine being cultivated in the country.

Mexico is home to various drug cartels that traffic large quantities of cocaine toward the United States, but coca itself is typically grown in the Andean region of South America.

Mexican Gen. Sergio Martinez said Wednesday that it's the "first time" a coca leaf plantation has been found here.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said that previously, only labs that processed coca into cocaine had been uncovered in Mexico.

The coca plants were discovered in the mountainous state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala.