Call it the Southern Route.Argentine police believe a Mexican drug cartel is shipping cocaine through Argentina and shipping a lot of it.Police seized two metric tons of cocaine in the port of Bahia Blanca on June 19.The cocaine was hidden in steel coils in an effort to deceive customs and police electronic scanners.The big cache had a street value of at least $60 million.In the same anti-smuggling operation, Argentine security forces seized another half-ton of cocaine in in Mendoza province, near the border with Chile.And that indicates the new shipping route.Police say the usual route for drug smuggling in Argentina is Bolivia or Paraguay, not Chile, but Argentina’s borders with Bolivia and Paraguay are heavily patrolled.Since the major territorial disputes between Argentina and Chile have been resolved their mutual border is more open. The cocaine route begins in Peru.The drugs may still transit Bolivia on the way to Chile.From Chile smugglers enter Argentina’s Mendoza province and move the cocaine to an Argentine seaport for shipment.Police believe cocaine from the two metric tons discovered in Bahia Blanca had two destinations: Canada and Spain.Why do authorities suspect a Mexican cartel is involved? Police and security forces arrested 17 people in the anti-smuggling operation, and four of them were Mexican citizens from Michoacan state. Several major cartels have a significant presence in Michoacan state.
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