Colombo: Sri Lanka authorities have publicly destroyed 770 kilograms (1,700 pounds) of cocaine in a bid to deter smugglers from using the Indian Ocean island nation as a transit point for drug distribution in the region.

Police officers first liquefied the cocaine, which was packed in more than two dozen sacks in front of two magistrates at a warehouse outside the capital Colombo. It was then taken to be disposed in a cement kiln north of the capital.

The cocaine was seized by police and custom officials in 2016 and 2017.

Monday's event came as Sri Lanka's president pledged to end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and execute condemned drug traffickers. (AP)

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