Venezuelan authorities seized 20 tons of liquid cocaine aboard a ship bound for Mexico, Interior Minister Tareck el Aissami said Tuesday.

The contraband was found as the ship was preparing to embark from a port in the northwestern state of Zulia, the official told state television.

An initial inspection led to tests that detected the presence of liquid cocaine in four containers destined for the Mexican port of Veracruz.

"We are now ... analyzing the percentage of purity in each of the containers and the quantity of liquid cocaine they were trying to take to Mexico," El Aissami said, describing Tuesday's drug seizure as one of the largest in Venezuelan history.

He said three people were arrested in the operation, one of them a Colombian national, and that authorities were carrying out "other searches" in connection with the case.

Venezuelan security forces confiscated more than 26 tons of cocaine in 2011, according to figures released in March.

While Venezuela is not a drug-producing nation, its neighbor Colombia is the world's leading source of cocaine. EFE