Coffee bean

Swiss police discover 500 kg of cocaine hidden in bags of coffee beans

Swiss police said an investigation was underway after workers at a Nespresso warehouse in western Switzerland found 500 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of $50 million (approximately N|77 million dollars), as they unloaded coffee beans arriving by train.

The regional police of Friborg indicated Thursday evening (local time) to have been alerted Monday by the company of the discovery of the installation of the municipality of Romont and immediately set up a “large security perimeter” around it. ci with a large deployment of agents. Customs and border control officers were called.

Early indications were that the cargo ended up in five containers that arrived by sea from Brazil before being transferred to a train, authorities said.

This image released by the Friborg cantonal police shows a cargo containing cocaine seized in the Swiss town of Romont last Monday.

Friborg Cantonal Police/AP

This image released by the Friborg cantonal police shows a cargo containing cocaine seized in the Swiss town of Romont last Monday.

“The cocaine seized has a degree of purity of 80% and its market value is estimated at more than 50 million francs,” the police said, adding that the hideout seemed “intended for the European market”.

READ MORE:
* The drug kingpin who smuggled methamphetamine into New Zealand had 14,000 ecstasy pills in a storage unit
* Police seize $95m worth of cannabis in nationwide operation
* Seizure of 700kg of cocaine was destined for another country, experts say

On Friday, the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported that the availability of cocaine in Europe “is probably at an all-time high”.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU but is part of the Schengen zone which allows visa-free travel to many European countries.

Police say an investigation is underway after workers at a Nespresso factory in French-speaking Switzerland came across a 500kg supply of cocaine.

Friborg Cantonal Police/AP

Police say an investigation is underway after workers at a Nespresso factory in French-speaking Switzerland came across a 500kg supply of cocaine.

The monitoring center said it estimated the cocaine retail market in the EU was worth at least €10.5 billion ($17 billion NZ) in 2020, while warning that this figure probably underestimated the true size of the market.

He said the largest quantities of cocaine are seized at Belgian, Dutch and Spanish ports, but increasing amounts are showing up at ports elsewhere “suggesting that trafficking groups are expanding their activities to ports where interdiction measures cocaine may be perceived as less intensive”.

Swiss food and drink giant Nestlé, owner of Nespresso, has sought to reassure customers that “all of our products are safe to consume”.

“We have strict quality controls in place for green coffee arriving at our warehouses through to the finished product,” the Vevey, Switzerland-based company said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. .

“The substance in question did not come into contact with any of our products or production equipment used to make our products.”

Nestlé said it could not provide further details due to the ongoing police investigation.