Santiago, Nov 29 (IANS) Chilean police said Wednesday that an operation in the northern part of the country resulted in nine arrests and the seizure of 993 kg of cocaine worth $22 million.
The action targeted a gang led by two Bolivian nationals — a mother and son — living near the city of Iquique, Efe news reports.
The operation required one year of investigation by prosecutors and members of the police organised crime unit, the unit’s commander, Guillermo Galvez, told reporters.
The ringleaders frequently traveled to Bolivia to acquire the drug, which was smuggled into Chile through the Atacama region, where it was collected and later handed over to traffickers in the Chilean capital, police said.
The seized drug was valued at 15 billion pesos ($22 million) and police also seized 23 high-end SUVs, used to transport the narcotic, along with nearly $25,000 in cash.
Prosecutor Raul Arancibia said that the detainees could face at least five years in prison, but that term may be increased if other charges are confirmed, such as criminal conspiracy.