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Dominican military officials among 35 arrested in drug bust

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
March 22, 2013 -- Updated 0349 GMT (1149 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Arrests are made in connection with the seizure of a private jet
  • Investigators found hundreds of packets of cocaine inside 26 suitcases
  • Police and military officials are among those arrested

(CNN) -- Authorities in the Dominican Republic have arrested 35 people -- including military, police and customs officials -- in a drug bust at the country's busiest airport.

The arrests were made in connection with the seizure of a private jet carrying 682 packets of cocaine in 26 suitcases, the country's drug enforcement agency said Thursday.

The plane had been scheduled to leave the Punta Cana International Airport for France, with a layover in the Azores, authorities said.

A lieutenant colonel, a major and four captains were among those arrested, authorities said. Four Frenchmen also were arrested.

The arrests were made after an investigation that began seven months ago, as investigators also tracked other cases involving the shipment of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to different countries in Europe, drug enforcement officials said.

CNN en Español's Michael Roa and journalist Diulka Perez contributed to this report.

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