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Cocaine-laden plane crashes in Mexico after airborne pursuit

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A light aircraft carrying almost half a tonne of cocaine crashed in central Mexico after a high-speed airborne chase with authorities, and two people aboard died, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.

Mexican military helicopters intercepted the plane in Mexican airspace and pursued it for hundreds of miles until it ran out of fuel and crashed in Botija, Queretero on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

The plane was loaded with about 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of cocaine, the ministry said.

In recent months a number of business jets have crashed or been abandoned in Central America and southern Mexico in an apparent uptick in aerial smuggling.

Monday’s crash came less than two weeks after a business jet reported stolen in Mexico crashed in a Guatemalan jungle near a hidden airstrip, leaving two men dead near an onboard stash of drugs and weapons. It had made a mysterious trip to Venezuela.

(Reporting by Liz Diaz and Noe Torres; Writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Cynthia Osterman)

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