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Brazilian timber used to disguise cocaine shipment

Portugese excise officers have seized an ingenious shipment of cocaine being transported from Brazil.

The country's judiciary police said officers had been alerted to the shipping container as it entered the northern port of Leixões, loaded with a shipment of Brazilian timber.

Further inspection – after the timber had been transported to a warehouse in the capital, Lisbon – showed that the ship had been stashed with more than 190 kilogrammes of cocaine which had been disguised to blend in with the timber.

Portugese authorities have said that the discovery of the drugs marked the cracking of an "international criminal network", and came at the end of a three-month long investigation.

Three business men, all Portugese nationals aged between 38 and 55, were detained in the operation.

Brazil's lucrative drug trade has been the subject of stringent action over the years, but repeated failures led former President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, to declare last year that the hardline tactics have resulted in "disastrous" consequences in South America.

He called for a global decriminalizing of cannabis use after admitting that, "After decades of overflights, interdictions, spraying and raids on jungle drug factories, Latin America remains the world's largest exporter of cocaine and marijuana."