Food by VICE

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

An employee at a Berkshire branch of Tesco discovered five 1 kilogram bags of white powder in a box of Costa Rican bananas.

by Phoebe Hurst
Jul 28 2015, 12:35pm

Photo via Flickr user torbakhopper

Bananas. Cocaine.

One is your mum's coverall hangover cure, mid-morning snack, and caffeine-free energy boost. The other a nose goo-dislodging powder that may or may not be cut with laundry detergent. (The extent to which you merge these definitions is down to whether the woman who gave birth to you considers herself a "regular mom" or not.)

Totally different. Apples and … erm, oranges.

Despite such obvious dissimilarities, bananas and cocaine do have something of a shared geography. Costa Rica exported more than 1.2 million tons of the fruit in 2012 and was responsible for 13 percent of the world's entire banana export between 2002 and 2006. The Central American country also saw more than 15.5 tons of cocaine seized by authorities in 2012, with concern that Mexican traffickers are using it as a "major transit point" to the US.

This geographical similarity is where the (white?) line between potassium-rich fruit and party drug may have been blurred last week.

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On Wednesday, a worker at a branch of British supermarket chain Tesco in Wokingham, Berkshire discovered what is believed to be thousands of pounds worth of cocaine in a box of bananas.

According to The Daily Mirror, the young employee was unpacking the fruit ready to be loaded onto the supermarket's shelves when he noticed one box was wrapped with red tape. He decided to take a closer look.

It seems South American drug barons aren't all that different from us when it comes to differentiating our cargo (i.e. cover the box containing your "FRAGILE! DO NOT DROP!!!!" plate set with a shit ton of neon tape and hope the removal men take pity) because lo and behold, inside were five bags of white powder.

"He opened the box and saw the packets underneath the bananas. He was understandably shocked. You don't need to be a genius to know what it is," a source at the supermarket told The Mirror.

The five bags of what appeared to be cocaine weighed 1 kilogram each, making their estimated street value as much as £250,000 a piece.

In a statement, Thames Valley Police confirmed that the package is "believed to be Class A drugs" but that no arrests have been made.

A spokesperson for Tesco said that they are helping police with their investigations. The supermarket imports more than 250,000 boxes of bananas from the Americas every week, with almost half of its supply coming from 12 farms in Colombia and Costa Rica last year.

It isn't the first time South American cocaine has found its way to innocuous foodstuffs. In May, 386 kilograms of cocaine were delivered in boxes of bananas to 14 supermarkets around Berlin while in New York, owners of a Queens pizzeria were arrested for importing cocaine from Costa Rica hidden in boxes of fresh cassava.

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Employees at the Wokingham branch of Tesco may not have been part of the drug game themselves, but they're still concerned about handing over bags of the white stuff to police.

"Staff are a bit worried as drug smugglers are desperate people. They could come looking for their cocaine," the source also told The Mirror.

Wokingham residents, take note: if El Chapo decides to use your small Berkshire town as a hideout following his recent tunnel-assisted prison escape and needs to know where he can buy a good frozen steak, it might be best to direct him to Sainsbury's.