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Police bust international drug ring in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Dec 2 (EFE).- The Brazilian Federal Police on Tuesday broke up an international drug trafficking and money laundering ring that smuggled drugs from Peru and Bolivia into Brazil for later shipment to Europe, officials said.

More than 180 officers participated in “Operation Denarius,” serving 13 arrest warrants and 39 search warrants in 16 cities in Parana, Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Rondonia and Mato Grosso do Sul states.

Assets, including ranches, houses and businesses, worth 60 million reais (about $23 million), were seized, the Federal Police said in a statement.

Police seized a small plane and a helicopter in the operation, media reports said.

The Federal Police started the investigation in February, when officers discovered a large cocaine shipment in Umuarama, a city in Parana state, which is on the border with Argentina and Paraguay.

The cocaine was hidden in a shipment of sections for pre-fabricated housing.