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Oil Firm Execs Smugglers, Detained in Bolivia

The two must remain in Bolivia and must also present themselves once a month to the prosecutors in charge

The two top executives of a Spanish-Argentine oil firm, who were arrested Wednesday on smuggling charges, were later released on bail.

Julio Gavito, the president of Repsol-YPF's Bolivian subsidiary, Andina, and Argentine operations manager Pedro Sanchez, handed themselves over to judges voluntarily in Santa Cruz on Wednesday. They were charged with exporting crude oil worth more than 9.2 million U.S. dollars illegally to Argentina and Chile, and then released on a 400,000-boliviano ($50,000 ) bail each.

The two must remain in Bolivia and must also present themselves once a month to the prosecutors in charge of the case.

They had been missing for a week, following a 20-man police raid on Andina's offices, led by officers from Bolivia's Department of Customs.

Bolivia's gas reserve is the second largest in South America, 26 percent of which is controlled by Repsol-YPF.