Drug Traffickers Hid More Than £1.5 Million of Cocaine Inside Dragon Fruit

Customs officers at Hong Kong airport became suspicious after the exotic fruit were left uncollected for a number of days.

by Daisy Meager
26 July 2016, 12:00pm

Grown in South America, it's recommended that you don't eat the casing it comes in and only consume the white bit.

Cocaine and dragon fruit—also known as pitaya—have more in common that you might think.

READ MORE: Drug Traffickers Love Smuggling Cocaine in Pumpkins

OK, there are many other differences (one is more socially acceptable as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, for example), but the two did find themselves sharing headlines this week after customs officers at Hong Kong International Airport discovered more than £1.5 million worth of liquid cocaine hidden inside of a shipment of dragon fruit.

And the reason they found it? Because the pick-up guy was late.

Normally, perishable goods are collected immediately after import, ensuring they stay as fresh as possible. Customs officers at Hong Kong airport got suspicious when this particular shipment of fruit hadn't been collected two days after arriving from Colombia via the UK. Upon closer inspection, they found that 98 of nearly 2,000 fruit were concealing 13 grams of liquid cocaine, totalling 15 kilograms.

That's some juicy fruit.

A source explained to the South China Morning Post that "part of the fruit layer was peeled off and pulp was removed before liquid cocaine was injected into the hollow centre and the layer glued back on. From appearance, it was hard to distinguish the ones concealing illegal drugs. Officers had to inspect them one by one."

READ MORE: A British Supermarket Just Found £1 Million Worth of Cocaine in a Box of Bananas

The examination process took the customs team more than four hours, as the 98 tampered fruit were divided between the 160 boxes in which the shipment arrived.

It's far from being the first time that fruit or veg has been used to smuggle drugs. Next time you peel back the skin of your pitaya or banana, you may well get more than just one of your five-a-day.

Hong Kong
drug smuggling
dragon fruit