Cocaine bust adds more drama to already tense G20

Osaka: The G20 summit in Japan was already expected to be high on intensity and drama.

And that was before a cocaine bust barrelled toward the gathering.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has promised an "immediate investigation and severe punishment for the person responsible" for attempting to bring 39 kilograms of cocaine on one of his government's planes headed to Osaka for the summit. There appears to be little precedent for such a drug bust on a government jet ahead of one of these summits.

A support aircraft belonging to the Brazilian air force was found to be carrying 39 kilograms of cocaine when it stopped to refuel in Spain on the way to the G20 summit in Japan.Credit:FAB/AP

The drugs were discovered when one of Brazil's planes was refuelling in Sevilla, Spain, on the way to Japan. News reports said the person busted with the drugs in his luggage was a Brazilian Air Force (FAB) officer.

"Although it was unrelated to my team, yesterday's episode, which occurred in Spain, is unacceptable," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

"I demanded immediate investigation and severe punishment for the person responsible for the narcotic material found on the FAB plane. We will not tolerate [this] disrespect to our country!"

Bolsonaro, a new populist leader, is working to solidify his international credentials at the summit and is meeting with US President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon.

US President Donald Trump, left, meets with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, left, during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka.Credit:AP

He is known for provocative statements and has tried to establish himself as a hawk on crime and the military. He has spoken in support of torture and other actions by the police and military in an effort to crack down on crime and corruption. During his election campaign, Bolsonaro was nicknamed the “Trump of the Tropics”.

The annual G20 gathering of world leaders is where they often discuss tense subjects like trade, climate change, and poverty. Trump promised to confront a number of leaders on economic policy, and some European leaders have promised to push back.

The Washington Post

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