A 13.2 ton drug bust the Cartagena police announced in May turned out to actually be only 35.3 pounds.
The single container of panela (a substance similar to brown sugar) traced to a cargo port in Cartagena on May 23 did not contain the massive quantity of cocaine originally reported.
According to El Universal, laboratory tests conducted by the technical investigation team of the Prosecutor General’s Office (CTI) showed Wednesday that the panela shipment had only a 1% concentration of alkaloid, the chemical base of cocaine. The Colombian navy displayed the remaining contents in the cargo load (pictured above) to the media in May.
On the plus side, the minor mistake– that is, misreporting the discovery as 700 times its actual amount– afforded Colombia a stint in the global spotlight.
BBC News referred to the operation as “one of the largest hauls of cocaine seized in Colombia over the past few years”.
China Daily estimated that the cocaine-laced panela had a value of $360 million.
Colombian newspaper El Espectador revealed that the haul was the culmination of a joint investigation conducted by the Colombian navy, the anti-narcotics police, and the CTI over a period of several months.
Sources also attribute the discovery to the noses of police narcotics dogs.