Texas prison officials found the cocaine inside boxes of bananas that were donated to a prison because they were already ripe. Photo courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Nearly $18 million worth of cocaine was found in boxes of bananas that were donated to a prison in Texas on Friday, law enforcement officials said.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said 45 boxes of bananas from Ports of America in Freeport, Texas were donated to the Wayne Scott Unit, a prison about 32 miles north, due to the fruit being already ripe. But when corrections officers were unloading the boxes, one of the officers "discovered something not quite right."
"One of the boxes felt different than the others," TDCJ said in a statement. "They snipped the straps, pulled free the box, and opened it up. Inside, under a bundle of bananas, he found another bundle! Inside that? What appeared to be a white powdery substance."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials were called in to test the substance and found it was cocaine.
In all, 540 packages of cocaine were in the banana boxes, with an estimated street value of $17,820,000.
The CBP and Drug Enforcement Administration are now investigating the incident.
This is just the latest example of cocaine being smuggled under the guise of bananas.
Last year, authorities in Spain found cocaine hidden inside 57 fake bananas that had been smuggled into the country in a shipment from South America.
And in 2015, authorities in Berlin, Germany, found 850 pounds of cocaine that were being smuggled inside banana boxes on their way to several Aldi grocery stores around the city.