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Coast Guard units took the bags out of the water by the port city Oran, according to Algeria’s Ministry of Defense, which laboratory analysis by military police later discovered contained 1,080 pounds of cocaine.
The ministry described the discovery as “an attempt to introduce a huge quantity of cocaine intended to flood our country with these poisons and drugs,” CNN reports, while the drugs were found “in the wake of operations to fight against smuggling and organized crime.”
“This operation reinforces the positive results achieved by the [Algerian People’s National Armed Forces] units in the field, particularly in light of the sense of civic-mindedness and cooperation of the citizenry, which in turn contributes to the fight against crime,” a release about the ongoing investigation read.
As Reuters reported in 2013, Algeria shared that drug trafficking was a top national security threat in relation to militancy in the region, and observers said that placing the army in charge sent a “strong signal.” Combatting trafficking was formerly the responsibility of the National Gendarmerie, Customs, and Border Patrol in Algeria.