A video of the burning wreckage posted on Twitter by provincial security minister Alberto Capella shows smoke escaping from the downed plane on an empty road.
The crew fled into the forest before the soldiers reached the scene shortly before 8 a.m. – but authorities said they had recovered the drugs nearby by stopping a truck carrying the plane’s cargo.
Air force officials told the Mexican newspaper Millenio, which originally reported the accident, that they began tracking the plane at 5 a.m. after taking off from Maracaibo, Venezuela.
They said that a T-6C Texan military aircraft had been dispatched to intercept the Narco aircraft and had ordered it to land before it made a forced landing on the route.
Authorities said it was not the first time that drug traffickers had been thwarted in the region – two planes carrying firearms and cocaine were seized for several consecutive days in January.