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Bombing Follows Colombia Raid That Netted 12 Tons of Cocaine

<i> Reuters</i>

One bomb exploded and another was defused Sunday, hours after the Colombian army, in one of the country’s biggest drug busts, raided a remote processing complex and seized 12 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $860 million.

The bomb blast involved a fruit truck containing 220 pounds of explosives that blew up early Sunday near the cocaine center of Cali, police said. No casualties were reported.

Police said the bombing was probably part of a war between Colombia’s two most powerful cocaine cartels that broke out again last Wednesday when a car bomb exploded outside a supermarket in Cali, killing four people. The supermarket chain had been linked to Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, reputed head of the Cali cartel.

A second bomb was found hidden in a pickup truck in Medellin.

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The army’s raid on the drug complex came late Saturday night. Army special forces backed by helicopters and air force planes swooped in on the processing center, killing two people and detaining 17. They found 25 airstrips hidden in the jungle and seized four light aircraft, vehicles and weapons.

“I had never seen so much cocaine in my life,” said Gen. Humberto Correa, the army officer in charge of the operation.

The complex, known as La Petrolera, consisted of three laboratories so remote that they could be reached only by air or river. Colombian newspapers said the center was part of a cocaine trafficking network linking Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.


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