Anti-narcotics police chemists test cocaine from a bag before its incineration.

Praia - Cape Verde police seized about 1.5 tons of pure cocaine worth about $100 million in one of the biggest drug busts in the region this year.

Police also seized weapons, five luxury cars and arrested four Cape Verde nationals in the raid on Saturday, according to Cape Verde national television, which was invited to film some of the haul of drugs, money and guns.

Cape Verde police were helped by Dutch colleagues as they staked-out the gang unloading their cargo on the island of Santiago, one of the islands that make up the Atlantic archipelago nation.

The drugs, which came from South America, belong to a criminal organisation with tentacles in several countries and were due to be shipped to Europe.

Street wholesale prices for cocaine in Europe range from anywhere between $40 000 to $100 000 a kilo, according to a 2011 report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

West Africa became a transit point in the drugs trade between Latin American producers and European users because of the porous borders of some of the countries in the region and weak security apparatus.

The UNODC estimates that up to 100 tons of cocaine may have been trafficked through the region in 2009 and that the value of trafficking flows exceeds the gross domestic product of some West African countries. - Rueters