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Nearly 425 pounds of cocaine found in tire shipment from South America

Nearly 425 pounds of cocaine found in tire shipment from South America
More than 424 pounds of cocaine were found in a tire shipment. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Nearly 425 pounds of cocaine were found hidden in a shipment of tires from South America at the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex, authorities said Tuesday.

The shipment is one of the "most significant narcotics interceptions in recent years" at the nation's largest seaport, said Carlos Martel, regional port director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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The cocaine was valued at more than $8 million.

The load was discovered Saturday as officers used "non-intrusive" technology similar to X-rays and gamma-ray imaging to inspect the large shipping containers onboard the vessel. One of the large X-ray systems spotted an anomaly in one of the containers of tires.

When officers opened the container, they didn't find tires. Instead, officers found three large bundles containing 170 brick-sized packages of cocaine.

The Coast Guard has seized more than 119,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $1.8 billion in the current fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

During the same time frame, Customs and Border Protection has seized more than 3.8 million pounds of narcotics in the U.S.

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