Coffee bean

Cops find half a ton of cocaine in shipment of coffee beans from Nespresso factory

Cocaine seized at the Nespresso factory in Romont
Bags of cocaine and coffee seized at the Nespresso factory in Romont, Switzerland, are seen in a photo taken at an unknown location and released on May 5, 2022 by regional police.

Cantonal Police Fribourg/Handout/REUTERS

Geneva – Swiss police said on Thursday they seized more than 500 kilograms, or about half a ton, of cocaine from a shipment of coffee beans delivered to a Nespresso factory. Workers at the Romont factory in the canton of Friborg in western Switzerland alerted authorities on Monday to a mysterious white powder found in bags of coffee beans, police said.

Staff at the coffee capsule machine, owned by Swiss food giant Nestlé, “found an undetermined white substance when they unloaded the bags of freshly delivered coffee beans”, Friborg police said.

Police analysis determined the substance to be cocaine. A search of five maritime containers “delivered the same day by train led to the seizure of more than 500 kilos (1,103 pounds) of this drug”, added the police.

Police said they set up a wide security perimeter around the factory during the operation, which also involved a large contingent of customs officers.

A shipping container containing bags of coffee beans and cocaine, first discovered by workers at a Nespresso factory in Romont, in the Swiss state of Fribourg, is seen in a photo provided by the government of the State of Friborg on May 5, 2022.

Handout/Government of the State of Friborg

Units containing the drugs were isolated and the substance did not contaminate production at the factory, the statement said.

Initial investigation indicated the shipment originated in Brazil, police said, adding that the cocaine seized was more than 80% pure, with an estimated street value of more than 50 million Swiss francs ($51 million, 48 million euros).

“It appears that all the drugs were destined for the European market,” police said.