The narcotics are said to have arrived via Europe’s second largest port in Hamburg from Colombia and were delivered to Czech stores before the criminals had a chance to intercept
Czech police have seized more than 907kg of cocaine with a street value of around £68million after it was mistakenly delivered to supermarkets hidden in shipments of bananas.
Employees at several supermarkets across the country discovered powder-filled wrappers in the crates of bananas before alerting authorities with the entire shipment seized by police.
Nearly 2,200 pounds of cocaine were collected after the shipment arrived via Hamburg – Europe’s second-largest port – believed to have originated in Colombia.
“Supermarket workers this afternoon found cubes of cocaine molded into boxes containing bananas,” police said on Twitter, along with photos of some of the cocaine seized.
Employees of supermarkets in the capital Prague and the towns of Jicin and Rychnov nad Kneznou first reported the suspicious blocks, with police sending canine units to investigate.
Czech police said in a statement: “Criminal investigators found that goods from the same batch had been distributed to several other locations in the Czech Republic.
“Therefore, in collaboration with the [Customs Administration of the Czech Republic] and other entities, it is currently carrying out inspections of these places and other actions.”
Jakub Frydrych, head of the police’s anti-narcotics unit, told Czech public radio that the cocaine probably came from Central America.
Czech police added that they are now seeking to work with international authorities to further their investigation. They said: “Information about shipments is kept outside the territory of the Czech Republic, therefore we will use the Institute for International Police and Judicial Cooperation.
“The case has been taken over by the National Center for Drug Control, which will conduct the investigation. We will provide more information as soon as possible.”
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its latest report, released in 2021, that “cocaine manufacture reached record levels in 2019, despite slowing growth. Production of cocaine doubled between 2014 and 2019 to reach an estimated 1,784 tons (expressed at 100% purity) in 2019, the highest level ever recorded.
UNODC added: “In 2019, Colombia continued to account for the vast majority of the world’s area under coca bush.”
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