Two police sources in Niger said authorities found and seized over 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cocaine in the truck of a local mayor, CNN reported. The contraband was reportedly being transported by the mayor and his driver at the time of discovery.
The seized cocaine was said to be valued at around $8.7 million. And sources said the mayor and his driver were rounded up at a checkpoint around the Agadez trading hub on Sunday.
Though Niger’s Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (OCRTIS) confirmed a record of over 440 pounds of cocaine had been seized in Agadez, they did not provide further details on the bust.
West Africa is regularly used as a route for the transportation of illicit drugs from South America to Europe. However, there have been a number of record busts over the last few years, CNN reported.
In October last year, authorities in Senegal seized over two tons of pure cocaine that was being transported in a ship off the West African nation’s Atlantic coast. Authorities in the Gambia also seized almost three tons of the contraband from a ship that reportedly set sail from Ecuador.
Interpol’s drug unit coordinator also told Reuters that drug kingpins had started sending big shipments to satisfy growing demands in Europe after Nigerien authorities seized 16.7 tons of cannabis resin in May last year. That contraband was valued at around $37 million.