Venezuelan military authorities have discovered what they believe to be the largest-ever illegal plantation of marijuana anywhere in south America.
CU: Marijuana plants.
AERIAL SHOTS: Plants growing. (FOUR SHOTS)
AERIAL VIEW: Military frontier post showing wire fence
SV: Venezuelan frontier sign with flag in background. (THREE SHOTS)
SV: Soldier patrolling past fence with other soldier looking through binoculars. (TWO SHOTS)
MV: Soldiers on patrol
CU: Hand holding seed.
MV & CU: Plants growing. (TWO SHOTS)
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Background: Venezuelan military authorities have discovered what they believe to be the largest-ever illegal plantation of marijuana anywhere in south America.
SYNOPSIS: The plantation was discovered in Venezuela's north-western state of zulia, some 25 miles (40 kilometres) from the border with Colombia. Military authorities estimated that it extended over an area of 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres). They said it would have a value of about one billion bolivars (250 million dollars) on the illegal market and claimed that North American drug kings with Colombian connections were behind it.
The discovery was made by Venezuelan soldiers who were investigating the death of two of their officers believed killed by drug traffickers from Colombia. Over the past year, Venezuelan authorities have been following up leads given them by private informers. They have also been taking advantage of the co-operation offered by Colombia in their efforts to eradicate drug trafficking.
Venezuela's Ministry of Agriculture has said the strain of the plants discovered is superior to any thing else seen in South America so far. They plan to use helicopters to spray the plantation with a special chemical that will destroy the marijuana plants but not the rest of the vegetation.