Wednesday 17 August 2022

Cocaine worth $50m found in coffee sent to Nespresso plant

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MILAN – Swiss cantonal police have seized more than 500kg of cocaine concealed in a container shipped from Brazil to the Nespresso factory in the town of Romont in western Switzerland. Workers at the plant alerted authorities in Fribourg after finding an “undetermined white substance while unloading bags of freshly delivered coffee beans,”

An analysis of the powder concluded that it was cocaine. A subsequent search of five sea containers that had been delivered to the factory by train on the same day turned up more than 500kg of cocaine, according to a police statement on May 5.

The seized cocaine was 80% pure and had an estimated street value of over CHF50 million ($50.6 million)

The investigators believe that the drug was destined for the European market. The batches were isolated. Nespresso said the substance did not come into contact with any of their coffee or equipment and that all their production was safe to consume.

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

Regional police in Fribourg said that after they were alerted they immediately set up a “broad security perimeter” around the factory with a large deployment of officers.

Around 20 customs and border control agents were called in, reports Swissinfo. The Office of the Attorney General of canton Fribourg where the factory is located has opened an investigation.

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