Cocaine packed into seven banana boxes has been found at five supermarkets in the Berlin area. Police said the haul, worth an estimated 6 million euros, was probably due to a "logistical error" by drugs smugglers.
Police on Tuesday said supermarket staff in the Berlin area had discovered 140 kilograms (309 pounds) of cocaine among bananas shipped from Colombia. The haul, made on Monday, is to be destroyed.
Employees at outlets of the discount grocery store chain Aldi initially alerted police after finding suspicious packages. It was Berlin's biggest cocaine find in 15 years.
The head of Berlin's anti-narcotics department, Olaf Schremm, said the cocaine "hidden among bananas" was inside a consignment of 1,134 banana boxes taken off a ship in Hamburg and delivered to a fruit wholesaler in Berlin.
The intended destination was unclear, Schremm said, referring to the find worth 6 million euros ($8.2 million) made at stores in Berlin and a nearby town in the adjacent state of Brandenburg.
"I don't know where the mistake was in the perpetrators' delivery chain," Schremm said.
On Tuesday, masked officers in bulletproof vests displayed the seized boxes to the media.
German authorities say drugs smugglers tend to favor the use of air mail or couriers to import illicit cocaine - more often than ships.
In 2012 they seized 1.3 tons of cocaine in total.
ipj/pfd (Reuters, AP, AFP)