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Brazil takes out clandestine airstrip with bombs

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • It is part of a larger operation near the border with Colombia
  • The airstrip was used to move drugs, officials say

(CNN) -- The Brazilian Air Force on Friday dropped eight 500-pound bombs on a clandestine airstrip in the jungle near the Colombian and Venezuelan borders, part of wide military operation that goes beyond targeting drug traffickers.

Video of the scene, released by the air force, showed craters on the destroyed airstrip, which they say was used to move drugs.

The highly-publicized effort, dubbed Operation Agatha, is an effort against drug trafficking, illegal mining and logging, and trafficking of wild animals, the military said.

"This operation is a first coordination effort by the government to intensify actions on the border," Col. Jose Maurilo Machado de Lima said. "We are going to carry out, periodically, operations of intensification of that control."

The operation counts with more than 35 aircraft and 3,000 troops.

In its most recent mission, four Brazilian-made A-29 Super Tucano planes flew to where the airstrip was hidden, about 42 miles (68 km) northeast of the city of Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira, and dropped their bombs. Two Black Hawk helicopters then brought personnel from the police, army and environmental agency to the site to verify that the operation was successful and that the area was safe.