Latin America & Caribbean

Bolivia 'drug dealers' throw $1m from plane

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Media captionWatch: The money was laid out by Bolivian authorities

Suspected members of a drug trafficking gang in Bolivia have thrown a bag containing more than $1m (£615,000) from a low-flying plane.

The cash was supposed to be collected by other gang members on the ground in eastern Santa Cruz province, said Interior Minister Carlos Romero.

But they missed the target and the bag was seized by Bolivian anti-drugs police, who later made several arrests.

Bolivia is one of the world's top three cocaine producers.

The authorities say the money - in US dollar bills of various denominations - was wrapped with a seal from a bank in neighbouring Paraguay.

They believe it was going to be used either to build a cocaine production centre or to set up a fake commercial enterprise in Bolivia.

"Three Bolivian citizens have been detained in the operation," said Mr Romero.

Guns and vehicles were also seized near the town of Rincon del Tigre.

Bolivian police had been monitoring the gang, which is believed to be well organised and with links to several countries.

Peru, Bolivia and Colombia are the world's biggest coca leaf and cocaine producers, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Coca leaf production is legal in small amounts in Bolivia, where it is used to alleviate the effects of the high altitude. But the production of cocaine is banned.

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