Aldi supermarket workers find record cocaine stash in banana boxes | News | DW | 04.05.2015
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Aldi supermarket workers find record cocaine stash in banana boxes

Police in Berlin have announced a record drugs haul, after Aldi supermarket workers found almost 400 kilograms of cocaine hidden in banana boxes. It's not the first time such a supply route has been rumbled.

Cocaine smugglers appeared to have made a costly slip-up after a record haul of the drug was discovered by Aldi supermarket workers in Berlin and the neighboring state of Brandenburg.

Announcing the 386-kilogram (850-pound) find on Monday, police spokesman Stefan Redlich said the it was the largest to be discovered in the German capital in any single operation. The market value of the narcotics was estimated to be some 15 million euros.

Only a kilogram or so of the drug was found wrapped in black plastic in some of the boxes, while in others there were 10 kilograms or upwards. Drugs were found at 14 stores across Berlin and Brandenburg.

Cartels are known to often use food cargo to smuggle large quantities of drugs from South and Central America to Europe.

Logistical banana skin

Redlich told the Berlin-Brandenburg radio station RBB it was believed the smugglers had made a "logistical error" along the presumed route from Colombia to Hamburg.

"The route across the Atlantic is known by police," said Redlich. "The wrong container was probably used when the merchandise was put on board ship. Or possibly, there wasn't time for the smugglers to unload it when it arrived in Hamburg."

Investigators were said to still be searching through other banana deliveries at Aldi branches and Berlin's wholesale market.

Berlin's second-largest drug haul in 35 years was made in January 2014 when 140 kilos of cocaine was also found in Aldi supermarkets. A major find was also made in the western German city of Cologne in 2010.

rc/jil (dpa, AFP, EFE)