Paraguay seizes nearly one ton of cocaine in DR Congo-bound rice

Asuncion: Paraguayan police said Friday they seized about 850 kilograms (1,900 pounds) of cocaine hidden in sacks of rice bound for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 23, 2014, 08:06 AM IST

Asuncion: Paraguayan police said Friday they seized about 850 kilograms (1,900 pounds) of cocaine hidden in sacks of rice bound for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The drugs were hidden aboard a ship set to sail from a private Asuncion port to Rio de la Plata, where it would have been loaded onto a transoceanic vessel.

A scorpion was printed on each sack of cocaine, said to represent a drug trafficking group led by Brazilian Jorge Rafat Toumani, police said.

The sole suspect that police detained was a customs agent.

Toumani, a fugitive from justice, was sentenced in Brazil to 47 years in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking.

Landlocked Paraguay, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, is a key shipping point for drugs coming from the Andean region -- especially cocaine -- heading to Brazil or the European market via Africa.