Police Find 646 Kg of Ecuadorian Cocaine In Albert Distribution Warehouse Near Prague

The drugs were found in a shipment of bananas heading from Ecuador to Amsterdam. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, Aug 14 (CTK) – On Saturday, Czech Police uncovered 646 kilograms of cocaine in a distribution warehouse in Klecany, near Prague, belonging to the Albert retail chain, National Drug Control Center (NPC) spokeswoman Lucie Smoldasova told CTK yesterday. The drugs were found in a shipment of bananas heading from Ecuador to Amsterdam.

The discovery is one of the largest shipments of hard drugs ever found in the Czech Republic. The drugs seized had a street value of roughly CZK 2 billion, with one gram being sold for CZK 3,000, according to Nova TV, which first reported on the story.

Smoldasova told CTK that the value of the drug would vary according to the market and the quality of the cocaine, and that the purity of the confiscated shipment would now be examined by experts at the Institute of Criminology.

She speculated that a logistic error may have occurred when there was no time to upload the shipment in Amsterdam, resulting in the banana boxes being delivered to a warehouse in central Bohemia.

Staff at the Albert warehouse found the shipment in the banana crates and called the police.

“The employees of the Albert supermarket warehouse found the suspicious packages while unloading pallets of bio-bananas on Saturday afternoon and contacted the police,” Smoldasova said. “One-kilo packets containing suspicious powder were found. A test of a random sample showed that it was a narcotic substance, specifically cocaine.” 

Detectives have launched a criminal investigation to find out who sent the drug shipment and to whom it was addressed, Smoldasova said, adding that Czech detectives from the NPC would cooperate on the international investigation with colleagues from Interpol and Europol.

In mid-July, Dutch customs officers, with the aid of specially trained dogs, uncovered a shipment of more than eight tonnes of cocaine hidden in a banana container in Rotterdam. It was the largest drug package seized at the port, with an estimated value of CZK 14.5 billion, Reuters reported on Thursday. The drugs were travelling from Ecuador via the Panama Canal to Rotterdam.

The retail store chain declined to comment further on the case due to the ongoing investigation, and its employees are assisting the National Drug Control Center with its investigation, company spokesman Jiri Marecek told CTK.

Cocaine shipments of this size are not seized very often in the Czech Republic, except for last year when two such shipments were intercepted.

Last June, police officers seized 840 kilos of cocaine in banana crates in Czech supermarkets with an estimated value of over CZK 2 billion. Pressed cubes of cocaine were first found by supermarket workers in Jicin and Rychnov nad Kněžnou. Police officers, in cooperation with the customs authority, then checked other places where goods from the same batch had been distributed. According to the available data, this was the largest ever seizure of cocaine in the Czech Republic.

A month later, police found up to 250 kilos of cocaine in a van on the premises of the Fluorit company in Sobedruhy near Teplice, where minerals are processed, reported Denik.cz.

The largest cocaine shipment in Europe was seized in February 2021, when customs officers in Hamburg, Germany, found more than 16 tons of cocaine hidden in five containers shipped from Paraguay. According to moneyinc.com, the largest ever amount of cocaine seized in the world was in California in 1989, where 21 tons were found in the home of a drug dealer in the San Gabriel Mountains.


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