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500 kg of cocaine found in Swiss Nespresso factory

May 7, 2022

 

Swiss police shared this photo of all 500 kg of cocaine that was discovered in a Nespresso factory this week. (AFP)

 

Swiss police this week confiscated more than 500 kg of cocaine hidden in a container in Nespresso factory in western Switzerland, local police have reported.

 

Nespresso employees in Romont discovered some of the cocaine as they were unloading coffee beans from one shipping container. They called police immediately. About 20 customs and border control agents subsequently searched all five shipping containers in the factory and discovered more than half a ton of the illegal substance. The cocaine’s purity was estimated at more than 80%, meaning that all 500 kg totaled more than 50 million CHF ($50.7 million).

 

The Office of the Attorney General of canton Fribourg (where the factory is located) has launched an investigation. The container left Brazil on a boat and then was transferred to a train once it hit Europe. Investigators are trying to determine when the cocaine was added to the containers and who is connected to the crime.

 

Police say that the substances were packaged and isolated from Nespresso products – therefore, no coffee was contaminated.

 

Cocaine at an “all-time high” in Europe

 

The drugs were intended to be sold on the European market, investigators say. Cocaine’s availability is at an “all-time high” on the continent, according to the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

 

The European cocaine market was worth at least $11.1 billion in 2020 – which is likely an underestimated figure, according to Europol. According to a 2021 wastewater analysis, residents in Zurich, Geneva, St. Gallen and Basel hold four of the top ten spots for European cities with the largest consumption of cocaine. Experts say that Switzerland’s low regulations and affluence makes for ideal conditions when it comes to buying and selling illegal drugs.

 

The largest quantities of cocaine that have been seized in Europe in the past have turned up in Dutch, Belgian and Spanish shipping ports. Officials say more and more cocaine is turning up in different parts of Europe, “suggesting that trafficking groups are extending their activities to ports where cocaine interdiction measures may be perceived as less intensive.”

 

 

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