Billion-dollar cocaine seizure in Gambia: source

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Some two tonnes of cocaine with a street value of roughly a billion dollars (835 million euros) has been seized in Gambia, a British official confirmed Wednesday.

Twelve people of various nationalities were also arrested after investigators discovered the drugs in an underground bunker in a warehouse outside the Gambian capital Banjul.

West Africa is a major stop off point for drugs, often from South America heading to Europe, although officials say it is impossible to say exactly where this consignment was heading at this stage.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report of the raid by the BBC and said more details would likely be released later. The BBC reported that large quantities of cash and arms were also seized.

Agents from Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency working in west Africa played a supporting role in the operation, providing forensic assistance.

In March, Gambian President Yayha Jammeh said there would be "zero tolerance" for drug-trafficking after 11 senior officials were arrested as part of a probe linked to drugs.

"I have zero tolerance for criminals. I have double zero tolerance for drugs," Jammeh told state radio.

© 2010 AFP

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