Shipment term

Half a ton of cocaine discovered in a shipment of coffee beans

  • Swiss police seized more than half a ton of cocaine which was found hidden in a shipment of coffee.
  • Nestlé employees at a Nespresso factory alerted authorities to the presence of a mysterious powder.
  • The shipment is believed to have come from Brazil and police said the drugs were destined for Europe.

Swiss police said on Thursday they had seized more than 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine concealed in a shipment of coffee beans.

Workers at a Nespresso factory – the subsidiary that makes Nestle’s coffee capsules – alerted authorities on Monday to the presence of the mysterious white powder discovered while unloading bags of beans from Brazil.

“The entire shipment has been blocked and seized by the police as part of their investigation,” Nespresso said in a statement emailed to Insider.

“The substance in question did not come into contact with any of our products or production equipment used to manufacture our products. As a police investigation is ongoing, we cannot share further details,” the company added.

Bags of cocaine and coffee seized at the Nespresso factory in Romont, Switzerland, are seen in this photo taken at an unknown location and posted on May 5, 2022

Friborg cantonal police via Reuters

Police analyzed the powder and said it was 80% pure and destined for the European market with an estimated market value of $50 million, according to Agence France-Presse.

Trades in physical commodity markets, such as coffee, can be extremely difficult to trace, according to Bloomberg commodity expert Javier Bias.

A container of green coffee beans from Ethiopia are unloaded at the Nespresso production facility, part of food giant Nestle, in Romont, Switzerland

Denis Balibouse/Reuters

“If you trade in the financial market, you buy oil futures or options, all of those transactions are recorded somewhere. There is a trading repository,” he said in a recent Odd Lots podcast.

“In the physical market, you can buy oil, metals, agricultural commodities, and you don’t have to disclose anything,” he added.