Czech police searching more stores on same delivery route while contacting overseas counterparts about shipment from Central America
Employees at a supermarket in the Czech Republic found 840kg of cocaine worth 2bn Czech crowns (£68m) inside boxes of bananas that were delivered to the store.
The delivery, which was sent to supermarkets in the towns of Jicin and Rychnov nad Kneznou in the northern region of the country, is believed to have been sent to the stores by mistake.
The record amount of cocaine, which is estimated to be worth more in street value, arrived in moulded cocaine cubes on Friday.
Speaking on a Czech public radio station, Jakub Frydrych, the head of the police anti-narcotics unit, said the cocaine is thought to have originated in Central America. Police are now working with counterparts in unspecified countries on the case while searching other stores in the country that have received boxes from the same shipment.
Posting on Twitter, the Czech police shared images of the seized cocaine and said “The information about the shipment leads outside the Czech Republic, therefore we will use international police and justice cooperation.”
In 2015, 100kg of cocaine was discovered in a Czech supermarket in Prague and in 1999 Czech police seized 117kg of cocaine which had been packed among dry fruit in a warehouse north of the city.
This week, Italian police seized 4.3 tonnes of cocaine, worth nearly £250m euros (£214m) in street value, in the city of Trieste in the north-eastern region of Italy. The seizure, one of Europe’s largest ever, was a collaboration between Italian financial police, anti-mafia investigators and U. Homeland Security and is believed to have dealt a serious blow to Colombia’s notorious Gulf Clan, the largest drug cartel in the country. Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, better known by the alias Otoniel, the alleged boss of the Gulf Clan, was last month extradited from Colombia to the US facing indictments in three federal courts.
Speaking after the extradition, Colombia’s president Iván Duque said David was “the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world” and compared him to the late former head of the Medellín drug cartel, Pablo Escobar. It is believed David was on the run for over a decade after corrupting state officials.
In a statement made in English, the anti-mafia investigators said the undercover operation “took another strong tackle to one of the most important groups of Colombian narcos”.
€1.8m in cash and vehicles believed to be used for trafficking were also seized.
International arrest warrants have now been issued for 38 people for drug trafficking in Bulgaria, Croatia, Colombia, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia.
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