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LIMA, Peru - Police have seized more than a ton of cocaine destined for the United States as it was being packed into a shipment of canned fish at a seafood processing plant, authorities said Saturday.
Ten people were arrested Friday at the Colra Fish factory, including the plant's 74-year-old owner, in Tacna, near the Peru's southern border with Chile. Just over 2,200 pounds of cocaine was confiscated, Peru's Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Three handguns, four cellular telephones and $1,500 in cash were also seized.
Peruvian authorities have seized more than five tons of cocaine and arrested 65 suspects since January, police said.
Peru, once the world's leading producer of coca leaf, from which cocaine is chemically extracted, slashed its production by 70 percent between 1995 and 2001, thanks to low coca prices, interdiction, forced eradication of coca fields and programs to help farmers grow alternative crops.
But according to Peru's anti-drug agency, Devida, high coca prices caused production to jump from 44,000 hectares (108,680 acres) in 2003 to 50,600 hectares (123,500 acres) last year as new plantings outpaced eradication.
Peruvian authorities say cocaine traffickers have re-established ties with remnants of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency to thwart the government's coca eradication programs in Peru's Amazon jungle.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. ~ Albert Einstein
"Fear is the great barrier to human growth." ~ Dr. Robert Monroe