Albanian Authorities Uncover and Seize 1,350 Pounds of Drugs in Banana Shipment

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Thu. March 1st, 2018 - by Melissa De Leon Chavez

TRIANA, ALBANIA – If we thought bananas had fallen out of style as a conduit for nefarious shipping, we were mistaken.

Albanian police claim to have found and seized 613 kilograms (1,350 pounds) of cocaine, worth an estimated market value of 180 million euros ($220 million), in a shipment of bananas from Columbia. The Washington Post reports that Top Policeman Ardi Veliu said that two people were arrested the day prior to the shipment.

The cocaine was found in small packages in a container unloaded from the Columbian shipment, which had also passed through Italy and Malta. Before police intervention, the container was taken to a private storage facility; despite the two arrests, The Washington Post reports, the culprit remains at large.

The cocaine was intercepted at the port of Durrës, according to Exit. The news source also reports that this is the largest shipment of cocaine seized by Albanian authorities to date. Arbri Garden shpk was responsible for the shipment; the company's warehouses are currently being searched and the company’s CEO, Arbër Çekaj, is wanted by the police.

The driver claims to have no knowledge of how the drugs were hidden in the vehicle’s chassis, where they were indetectable to the scanner but identified by narcotics dogs. Exit reports that Italian Antimafia Prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho visited the country to assist in the investigation, as authorities believe the shipment was intended for the European Market.

To stay in the know on the battle to protect produce from becoming a vehicle for illicit substances, keep reading AndNowUKnow.