Bust targets 24 in Puerto Rico airport drug ring

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Federal authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland said Tuesday that they broke up a drug-smuggling ring that shipped cocaine in children's toys on flights to the United States.

The organization seemed to have particularly favored the toy "Lite Brite," because it was easy to open and could fit a kilogram of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Emilia Rodriguez Velez for the District of Puerto Rico said at a news conference.

Couriers working for the organization also used DVD players as they moved cocaine between Puerto Rico and the mainland for about four years starting in 2009, Rodriguez said.

Authorities arrested 24 alleged members of the organization in the United States and Puerto Rico who were indicted on drug charges. The cocaine was shipped to several cities, primarily Orlando, Florida, officials said.

Puerto Rico has become a major shipment point for cocaine bound for the United States in recent years as traffickers seek to evade increased security and turmoil along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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