Paraguay Seizes nearly One Ton of Cocaine in DR Congo-Bound Rice


Paraguayan police said Friday they seized about 850 kilograms (1,900 pounds) of cocaine hidden in sacks of rice bound for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The drugs were hidden aboard a ship set to sail from a private Asuncion port to Rio de la Plata, where it would have been loaded onto a transoceanic vessel.

A scorpion was printed on each sack of cocaine, said to represent a drug trafficking group led by Brazilian Jorge Rafat Toumani, police said.

The sole suspect that police detained was a customs agent.

Toumani, a fugitive from justice, was sentenced in Brazil to 47 years in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking.

Landlocked Paraguay, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, is a key shipping point for drugs coming from the Andean region -- especially cocaine -- heading to Brazil or the European market via Africa.

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