Impoverished Bolivia, the world's second-largest producer of the coca leaves used to make cocaine, has been offered a deal it may find hard to refuse.

The country Saturday was considering an offer by the Soviet Union to buy 220 pounds of pure cocaine "for use in investigations," Interior Ministry official Jorge Alderete said.Now the landlocked nation must contend with new dilemmas, including whether the government should produce the cocaine itself or simply draw from its stocks of confiscated drugs.

Moscow made the offer "a while back," the official said, adding that Bolivia has asked a United Nations regulatory board if the sale is internationally permissible.