Venezuelan troops of the Bolivarian National Guard found $550,000 in cash buried with 1.5 kilos (3 1/3 pounds) of cocaine and a modern HK 33KE assault rifle, authorities said Saturday.

The discovery was made in a rural area of the western state of Apure that borders on Colombia, the press officer of the Interior and Justice Ministry, Jorge Galindo, said.

The official said on his Twitter account that the stash was found near the Meta River, which flows from Colombia and is one of the largest tributaries of the Orinoco River that runs across Venezuela.

The deputy director of the governmental National Anti-drug Office, Gen. Edylberto Molina, told reporters later that the find belonged to "an organization dedicated to international drug trafficking, operating beteen Colombia and Central America, and using Venezuela as an airbridge."

Besides the money, the rifle and the drugs, Molina said they also found five bullet clips made in Germany, three vehicles, satellite telephones, communications equipment and a number of documents.

National Guard commander Gen. Juan Romero said on Nov. 6, after 2.7 tons of marijuana were found in the northwestern state of Tachira, also on the Colombian border, that 39.47 tons of different drugs have been seized this year in Venezuela.

During 2011 the confiscations totaled 42.33 tons, of which more than half (26.3 tons) were cocaine. EFE