Four arrested in $1 billion-plus cocaine seizure in Uruguay

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Four people were arrested for possible ties to the more than $1 billion worth of cocaine seized in recent days in Uruguay, the largest drug bust in the history of the South American country.

The arrests took place on Saturday, news outlets reported. A uthorities found 5.9 tons of cocaine, 4.4 tons of which was packed into cargo containers in the South Atlantic port of Montevideo, said Attorney General Enrique Rodríguez. Rodríguez did not say where the drug was headed. Multiple news outlets, without citing sources, reported it was destined for Africa.

The men accused of exporting the drug operate a soy bean business, the Uruguayan customs agency said Friday. As officials investigated further, they discovered another cocaine stash of more than 1.3 kilos at a rural property linked to the suspects.

Uruguay, a country of just 3.4 million inhabitants, has recently arrived on the world stage as a transit point for the international drug trade. In August, 4.6 tons of cocaine were confiscated in Hamburg, Germany , inside a container that had shipped from Montevideo. The customs director in Uruguay resigned shortly after.