Late last month, Canadian County Sheriff's deputies noticed a "suspicious" Chrysler Pacifica on a vehicle transport trailer at a TA Travel Center along I-40 near Mustang Road in El Reno. When they asked the trailer driver for permission to search the vehicles, they discovered 77 pounds of cocaine in the suspicious vehicle, with a value of nearly $5 million. Undersheriff Chris West told reporters that the drugs were not just passing through the state, but were intended for Oklahoma City. He called the discovery the "largest seizure of cocaine in the metro area in recent years, if not ever." A $5 million drug bust near Oklahoma City is pretty significant. However, it is small potatoes when compared to the largest drug busts in history.
Our infographic shows how the top drug busts are not just a few million dollars, but include literally tons of drugs valued at billions. Look at the second largest drug bust. In 1989, a drug bust near Los Angeles seized $13 million worth of cocaine owned by cartel boss Raphael Munoz. The 21 tons of cocaine discovered in the raid was enough to provide every single American with 5 lines of coke. Some of the largest drug busts in history took place in other countries: Mexico and Columbia, obviously, but also Afghanistan. In fact, drugs trafficked from the Middle East are often used to fund the Taliban and terrorist groups. In 2008, $350 million worth of hashish--some 260 tons--was destroyed by airstrike in Afghanistan. Last year, Afghanistan had a record year for opium production. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), "the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 224,000 hectares in 2014, a 7% increase from the previous year." Furthermore, the average opium yield was 9% greater than in 2014. UNODC's World Drug Report 2014 reports that Afghanistan has the world's largest opium poppy cultivation, accounting for 80 percent of the global opium production. While $5 million in cocaine is nothing to sneeze at, it certainly pales in comparison to the quantity of drugs being trafficked throughout the nation and around the globe.