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Colombian Police Make Largest Drug Bust in Country’s History

FILE - Police officers stand guard over seized cocaine they present to the press.

Colombian police Sunday said they had seized eight tons of cocaine from the country’s most active criminal syndicate, the Usuga clan.

In a statement, police said they found the drugs hidden on a banana plantation near the border with Panama, in Colombia’s northwest Uraba region.

"The biggest seizure of drugs in history. A hit against criminals," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Twitter.

Police said they arrested three people in the operation, but another three escaped. Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said nearly 1.5 tons of the cocaine was packaged and “ready to go out.”

Each year, police said, the Usuga clan sends tons of cocaine into the United States. U.S. authorities have offered a $5 million reward for the capture of the gang’s leader.

Colombia is the leading coca growing country in the world, and produces 442 tons of cocaine from the crop each year, according to the United Nations.