(updates throughout)


Honduran authorities seized 15 tons of illegal drugs they discovered buried beneath a clandestine laboratory in the northern province of Yora, prosecutors said Thursday.

"According to what the experts say, the drugs found would amount to some 15 tons of cocaine (coca) paste or synthetic drugs," Elvin Guzman, spokesman for the prosecutor's office in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, told reporters.

The drug lab was found Thursday in a village lying between the towns of Santa Rita and El Negrito.

Officials suspect they may find additional drugs in underground tunnels at the site, Guzman said.

The operation involves personnel from the army and several different law enforcement agencies.

Authorities uncovered "chemical products and other substances, an electrical installation and a transformer" at the clandestine lab, Carlos Vallecillo, spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Tegucigalpa, told Efe earlier Thursday.

Honduras' Caribbean region is a major transshipment corridor for shipments of illegal drugs bound for the United States, the world's No. 1 drug-consuming nation.

Last year, Honduran authorities intercepted more than 22 tons of cocaine in various operations, including some carried out jointly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. EFE