Largest Drug Busts in History

1.San Francisco is home to the world largest ever recorded drugs bust. In 1991, police officers seized 59 boxes containing 1080 pounds of Heroin, with a street value ranging from $2.7 billion to $4 billion. Roughly enough Heroin to supply an estimated 500,000 heroin users for a month.

2.One of the largest drug busts in recorded in history comes from the Middle East. Collaborations between Turkish and Saudi Authorities to stamp out the massive rise in amphetamine use has to the seizure of 30 tons of the material used to produce Captagon pills which is a type of amphetamine. Officials claim it is enough to produce some 200 million pills with an estimated market value of $1.6 billion. That is 7 pills per head in Saudi Arabia.

3.1989 was the year of the world’s largest cocaine bust. A staggering 21.4 tons of cocaine were seized in a Los Angeles warehouse. The value of the cocaine was placed at $6 billion. The DEA said the seizure represented about 5% of the world’s annual production of the drug–more cocaine than growers in Peru, the world’s largest supplier, produce in a year.

Cocaine production at Tranquilandia

4.The third largest drugs haul was attributed to none other than the infamous Pablo Escobar who was once the head of the Colombian Medellin cartel. The Colombian government acting on a tip-off by the US drug enforcement agency raided a laboratory called “Tranquilandia” built deep into the Colombian jungle. 14 tons of cocaine was seized worth more than $1 billion.

5.One of the most brazen drug-trafficking attempts was found onboard a Panamanian ship called the Gatun and is considered the largest maritime cocaine bust in US history. After being spotted by a US coast guard patrol ship in 2007, coast guard official were astounded to find the packaged cocaine piled up on the deck without any attempt to conceal it. When the total haul amounted to 42,000 pounds of cocaine, the lack of attempts to even hide it below deck flabbergasted the coast guard officials. The estimated value of the haul was $600 million.

6.In the last month, coalition forces in Afghanistan made a massive drug seizure in an operation carried out by Afghan police. 5.7 tonnes of Heroin was seized along with 11.3 tonnes of opium and 841kg of hashish. The operation which took place in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan and saw 63 “terrorists” killed with 10 armed traffickers arrested and 14 afghan hostages released. Helmand’s former head of counter-narcotics Phillipa Brown said the amount seized represented 25-30% of Britain’s annual consumption of Heroin.

7.In 2005, Colombian authorities claimed to have seized 13.8 tons of cocaine worth $350 million hidden on a jungle riverbank in southern Colombia.

Panamanian motor vessel Gatun during the largest drug bust in United States Coast Guard history (20 tons of cocaine) off the Coast of Panama

8.Another seizure on Afghanistan uncovered a vast amount of packaged hashish buried deep in an underground complex of trenches and bunkers. The haul which was reportedly meant for use by the Taliban to fuel their war against the west was said to have a street price in the UK of £200 million, nearly $300 million and is estimated to have weighed roughly the same as 30 double-decker buses.

9.Saudi Arabia also experienced one of the largest drug seizures in recent years. 11,464 pounds of hashish were seized at the shipping port in Riyadh, one of, if not the largest hashish haul in history. Seven East Asian men and one Arab man were arrested in connection with the bust. Unfortunately for them, Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia law which often prescribes the death penalty for convicted drug-traffickers, in some cases by beheading.

10.Colombian authorities discovered 12 tons of cocaine in a container headed for Mexico, most likely a shipment from Colombia’s Rastrojos to a Mexican cartel, while police simultaneously seized $2.8 million in cash, believed to be payment for a previous drug consignment. The cocaine, seized in the Caribbean port of Cartagena, was mixed with brown sugar, but detected by sniffer dogs. There were between 12 and 16 tons of the drug in the shipment, said the head of naval operations, Admiral Roberto Garcia Marquez. The exact amount will only be determined once chemists have finished analyzing the percentage of cocaine to sugar in the 33,450 blocks found in the container. This haul is worth an estimated $360 million wholesale in the U.S