Source AP ©

Brazilian police launch operation to disclose drug ring

Federal police started a major operation Monday in five Brazilian states to get on the tracks of an international drug gang that hid cocaine in fruit shipments.

One woman was arrested in Bahia state and authorities said they were searching for an unknown number of people in the states of Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Ceara.

The Agencia Estado news service identified the suspect as Ana Lucia de Araujo Lima, the manager of farms where mangoes, melons and grapes were grown to smuggle the cocaine.

On Saturday, five Colombians and two Brazilians who allegedly belong to the ring were arrested in Uruguay with 480 kilograms (1,060 pounds) of cocaine. Police said they were headed to the Netherlands.

Among those detained was Gustavo Duran Bautista, whom Uruguayan police said led the criminal organization. Bautista owns three ranches in Brazil and abroad, as well as an import-export company in Europe, authorities said.

Brazilian federal police said Monday's operation is part of a four-year investigation involving police in Uruguay, the Netherlands, Bolivia, England, France, Spain, Argentina and Paraguay.

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