BOGOTA, Colombia - Five American soldiers have been arrested for trying to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cocaine into the United States on a U.S. military aircraft, the U.S. military said.
The five unidentified Army personnel were detained on Tuesday and are being held in the United States for "allegedly trying to transport approximately 16 kilograms (35 lb) of cocaine," U.S. Southern Command said in a news release late on Thursday.
"The Department of Defense and other federal agencies, in close cooperation with the Colombian government, are investigating these charges both in the U.S. and Colombia," Southern Command said.
The cocaine could be sold in the United States for $300,000-$500,000.
The U.S. Congress has authorized the presence of up to 800 U.S. troops in Colombia to train Colombian soldiers and provide support for the country's war on cocaine and Marxist rebels, as well as up to 600 civilian contractors.
The United States has provided Colombia with more than $3 billion in mainly military aid since 2000.
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