Cocaine-laden plane crashes in Mexico jungle

CANCUN, Mexico Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:33pm EDT

1 of 4. Soldiers and investigators stand next to the wreckage of a Gulfstream aircraft which crashed in the Yucatan peninsula with 3.3 tons of cocaine onboard, September 24, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - An airliner stuffed with dozens of sacks of Colombian cocaine crashed in the jungle of southern Mexico on Monday, police said.

Local police officer Eustaquio Arredondo told reporters no casualties had been found but one person who was apparently on board the aircraft had been arrested.

TV images showed 132 military-style black bags containing around 3.3 metric tons of cocaine lined up in rows next to chunks of the wrecked plane, which came down near the municipality of Tixkokob, a three-hour drive west of the Cancun beach resort.

Mexican army planes had been tracking the aircraft since it was spotted entering Mexican air space.

Drug planes packed with South American cocaine -- often with passenger seats ripped out to make space -- frequently fly through Mexico and Central America en route for the United States.

Some unload their cargo at clandestine airstrips south of the border where traffickers send it on by road or sea.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of troops against Mexican drug gangs. The murder rate from cartel turf wars has calmed down since March but killings still number around 2,000 people so far this year.

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