The coffee on the streets nowadays must not be strong enough or have enough of a kick for the average consumer, as a Nespresso coffee shipment was just found to contain millions of dollars worth of cocaine.
That’s a joke, of course: cocaine is routinely shipped in crates containing coffee beans because the scent from the beans can throw off drug-sniffing dogs.
Regardless, it was in a coffee shipment that Swiss police found about 500 kilograms of cocaine, which works out to about half of a ton of the drug. The coffee beans were being shipped to a Nespresso plant and were, according to the police involved in seizing the shipment, meant for the European market.
The drugs were apparently discovered by workers in that Nespresso plant, who called the police to investigate after they started finding a mysterious white powder in the sacks of beans.
A police officer in Fribourg, a western Swiss canton which is where the Nespresso plant is located, described that fortuitous discovery, saying that the workers “found an undetermined white substance when they unloaded the freshly delivered sacks of coffee beans”.
After determining that the mystery powder was cocaine, they then searched the other shipping containers that had transported the beans from Brazil to Switzerland and found the remainder of the half-ton of cocaine, with it being relatively easy for the police to determine which containers to search because they had been delivered by train on the same day.
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The Guardian adds that “The units containing the drugs were isolated, and the substance did not contaminate production at the plant,” so no one will get a fun surprise next time they buy a pack of Nespresso pods.
Further, reporting on the worth of the drugs captured by the police and customs officers and their place of origin, the Guardian reports that:
“The initial investigation indicated the shipment originated in Brazil, police said, adding that the seized cocaine was determined to be more than 80% pure, with an estimated street value of over 50m Swiss francs (£41m).“
What is not yet clear, however, is why the drugs were included in that shipment. Namely, the questions that are so far unanswered are: “Was someone at Nestle, which owns Nespresso involved in arranging the shipment?” and “Why was the cocaine not taken out of the bean shipment?” Perhaps police and customs officers will figure those questions out as the investigation progresses.
Interestingly, however, the Nespresso incident isn’t the strangest cocaine coffee seizure so far. That probably took place in 2020, when police found that a cartel had hidden cocaine in individual coffee beans.
In that incident, the Italian police confiscated about 130 grams of cocaine which had been concealed in about 500 individual coffee beans, or a two-kilogram shipment of beans.
“Making the story even more bizarre,” as Food and Wine reports, is that “customs officers at Malpensa Airport in Milan, where the package arrived, apparently chose to inspect it after realizing the recipient shared a name with a fictional character from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2… Santino D’Antonio, a Mafia boss.”