• Kyodo

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Four Bolivians living in Kanagawa Prefecture have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling some 30 kg of cocaine into Japan, investigative sources said Monday.

The cocaine, worth an estimated 1.8 billion yen at street value, was discovered by customs officials in a shipment of cargo that arrived at Narita airport in mid-October from Mexico via the United States, according to the sources.

It was hidden inside four coils of rope, with each coil — hardened with wax on the surface — containing about 7 kg of cocaine, they said.

It is the biggest cocaine haul ever seized at a Japanese airport, according to the Customs and Tariff Bureau of the Finance Ministry.

The shipment was addressed to the four Bolivians, whose names have not been disclosed, the sources said.

Chiba Prefectural Police plan to question the suspects to see if they are involved in an organized cocaine smuggling operation. Records show that coils of rope in similar shape have earlier passed through customs at Narita.

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