Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuela National Guard finds buried stash of cash

Picture released by the Venezuelan Interior Ministry of a bag of cash found in Apure
Image caption Six bags full of $100 bills were found in Apure state

Security forces in Venezuela have found $550,000 (£343,000) buried near the border with Colombia, interior ministry spokesman Jorge Galindo said.

It was hidden in plastic bags on the banks of the river Meta along with a rifle and 1kg (2.2lb) of cocaine.

Counter-narcotics officers said the money belonged to an international drug trafficking gang which also stored fuel and small aircraft in a camp nearby.

They said the camp was used to smuggle drugs from Colombia to Central America.

Over the past months, Venezuela has arrested and extradited several high-profile Colombian drug dealers.

Colombian guerrilla groups and drug traffickers often bury cash in remote locations.

In 2003, Colombian soldiers found about $20m worth of guerrilla drug money buried in the Colombian jungle.

The soldiers, who failed to tell the authorities about their find, were charged with theft. They are still awaiting a verdict.

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