Salvadoran authorities seized 1.2 tons of cocaine during two simultaneous operations on October 12, 2020. It was the largest seizure in 10 years in the fight against international narcotrafficking, said Rogelio Rivas, Salvadoran minister of Justice and Public Security.
“The Antinarcotics Division […] and the National Civil Police have dealt a severe blow […],” Rivas said. “The [trucks] came from Nicaragua, driven by Nicaraguans, with drugs that were bound for Guatemala and Mexico.”
Thanks to a canine unit, authorities found the first load of 820 kilograms of cocaine while inspecting a truck at a customs office in El Amatillo, Pasaquina municipality, on the border with Honduras. Some of the drugs were hidden in the fuel tank, and the rest were in the vehicle’s rear tires.
Agents intercepted the second truck at a checkpoint located on the highway connecting the Zacatecoluca and San Salvador municipalities, the usual route that drivers with heavy loads take. Authorities found 380 kg of cocaine, also hidden in the fuel tanks. In both cases, agents detained the drivers.
“We are trying to figure out who the cartel [that owns the drugs] is […], but we believe that because of the way the drugs were hidden, it’s the same for both trucks […]. The drugs were not bound for El Salvador; [the narcotraffickers] most likely wanted to reach the United States,” Rivas added.
“El Salvador is a key security partner and is one of more than 20 nations that work with the United States to support international operations to combat drugs,” the Salvadoran government said in a statement, echoing the recognition for its performance in the fight against narcotrafficking that U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), made during his visit to El Salvador on October 21.