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Aldi cocaine banana haul a 'logistical error'

The Local · 8 Jan 2014, 08:59

Published: 08 Jan 2014 08:59 GMT+01:00

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Packets of the drug turned up in seven banana crates in five stores. Police said it was the second biggest cocaine find in Berlin of the last 35 years and was worth around €6 million.

On Tuesday Olaf Schremm from Berlin’s criminal investigation office said: “We are assuming that it was a logistical mistake by the criminals.”

The bananas came from Columbia on a shipment to Hamburg. They were then transported to the Moabit area of Berlin where they were sent out to suppliers.

The banana shipment was originally bound for the UK via Rotterdam, but the cargo was six days late due to bad weather in the Atlantic and when it arrived in the Netherlands, the Dutch buyer no longer wanted the bananas. 

It therefore sailed on to Hamburg.

But the crates containing the cocaine appeared to have been sent to Aldi by mistake.

Workers at an Aldi store in Reinickendorf made the first discovery at 8am on Monday.

More cocaine parcels were then discovered across by Aldi workers in Köpenick, Rahnsdorf, Wilmersdorf and in Velten in Brandenburg.

The first tests showed they contained 55 percent pure cocaine but police stressed some of the parcels could be up to 90 percent purity.

Police and customs officials traced the bananas to a container which had arrived from Colombia with around 1,150 crates of bananas.

In one Aldi branch in Köpenick workers found 60 kilos of cocaine. Another Aldi store in the same district came across 40 kilos, the BZ said.

The discount supermarket has been cooperative, police said in a statement.

Banana crates seem to be a popular vessel for cocaine smuggling. In December last year Norwegian police found 145 kilograms of cocaine stashed inside them.

Last summer Danish customs officers found 200 kilograms of cocaine in banana boxes kept in the warehouses of the Coop supermarket chain. In October, British police seized 850 kilograms of cocaine hidden among bananas in a cargo from Colombia. 

READ MORE: Dutch clampdown drives cannabis farms east

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