efe-epaSantiago

Chile's National Customs Service seized a tractor-trailer coming from Bolivia carrying narcotics valued at $2.2 million in the northern city of Iquique.

The assistant director of the service, Javier Uribe Martinez, told reporters that the packaged drugs were found in a hidden compartment under a steel panel and immersed in gasoline.

The narcotics were wrapped in 112 separate black packages containing a total of 57 kilograms (125 pounds) of cocaine and 40 kg (88 lb.) of marijuana.

Uribe Martinez stated that irregularities in the trailer's structure were detected with the agency's on-site X-ray scanner, after which "a specialized team proceeded to dismantle the trailer floor, where they found a custom-made steel compartment."

He said that the service's hard work is part of a preventive plan being implemented during the visit of Pope Francis to Chile, which began on Monday and will last until Thursday.

Three Bolivian nationals, ages 20 to 38, were arrested for drug trafficking in the operation. The men, all residents of Cochabamba, will be held for up to 120 days while the investigation is under way by order of Judge Leonardo Valdivieso. EFE