CARACAS (Reuters) - A Venezuelan military helicopter crashed, killing 10 National Guard soldiers who were chasing suspected drug traffickers in a region close to the border with Colombia, an officer said on Saturday. The helicopter crashed while taking off on Friday afternoon after the soldiers had carried out a foot patrol in search of the suspected traffickers, one of whom was caught, General Luis Alfredo Dominguez told Venezuela state television. This is a lamentable accident and the whole National Guard family and the people of Venezuela are in mourning, Dominguez said. He did not say if there were any survivors. Venezuela is a major route for Colombian cocaine headed to Europe and the US. Much of its 2,200km border with Colombia is rugged terrain. where leftist guerrillas, drug traffickers and paramilitary fighters are active. This week Venezuelan authorities found 4 tons of cocaine on a farm, the governments largest haul in recent years. A few days earlier, Colombian authorities captured Walid Makled, a Venezuelan wanted in his home country and the United States on charges of major drug trafficking.