Chile drug bust nets cocaine and marijuana stamped with kingpin Pablo Escobar's likeness

March 12, 2021 2:39 PM EST

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean authorities on Friday said they had confiscated more than three tonnes of cocaine and marihuana wrapped in white paper stamped with the image of deceased Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

The Escobar-decorated packages were a first in Chile, authorities said, though similar shipments were confiscated by police along the Mosquito coast of Honduras earlier this year.

"Criminal organizations always put a stamp on (their product), something distinctive, for traceability, to ensure that large shipments reach their destination," said Hector Espinosa, director general of Chile's PDI investigative police.

The bust - unusually large for Chile - also resulted in the arrest of six people, the seizure of 14 vehicles, various weapons, foreign currency and several cellphones.

The drugs were seized in Chile's northern desert near Arica, a remote, mountainous region that has increasingly become a focal point for smugglers of both contraband and people.

Police said the product came from Bolivia.

Chile is largely off the beaten track for the region's drug traffickers, but several recent high profile drug-related crimes in the capital Santiago and the desert hinterlands have put authorities in the South American nation on alert.

Escobar, Colombia's best-known drug lord, was the head of the infamous Medellin cartel. He died during a police operation in 1993.

(Reporting by Reuters TV, writing by Dave Sherwood, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)



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