Food by VICE

Cops Find $18 Million of Cocaine Hidden in Bananas Donated to Texas Prison

C'mon, guys. At this point, putting cocaine in fruit is, like, the pumpkin spice of smuggling techniques.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Sep 25 2018, 12:00pm

Photo: Getty Images - 
Daniel Kaesler / EyeEm

OK, we don’t like to tell people how to do their jobs, but if you’re a drug smuggler, maybe it’s time to stop hiding packages of cocaine inside shipments of bananas. We do not and have not moved weight, but it seems like maybe the banana thing has been overdone: At this point, it seems like it’s the pumpkin spice of smuggling techniques. And it also seems like trying to hide a few kilos of coke inside banana boxes is a great way to get caught.

FOR EXAMPLE, allow us to tell you what happened on Friday, when corrections officers from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice were called to pick up two pallets of bananas that had been left behind at the Ports of America. The 45 boxes of bananas were already ripe—and no one had claimed them—so an unidentified business decided to donate the fruit to the Wayne Scott Unit, a prison farm in Brazoria County, Texas.

When the officers started picking those boxes up, they noticed that some of them felt a little straight. They cut one open, discovered a package hidden underneath the bananas, and then probably had to spend a couple of minutes putting their lower jaws back into place. In total, they found 540 individually wrapped packages of cocaine hidden inside that shipment. US Customs agents were called to the scene to confirm the find, and they pretty much said “Yup, that’s a lot of blow.” The street value of that poorly concealed haul? An estimated $17,820,000.

“Sometimes, life gives you lemons. Sometimes, it gives you bananas,” the Texas Department of Criminal Justice wrote on its Facebook page. “And sometimes, it gives you something you'd never expect!”

"Our correctional officers and supervisory correctional officers are trained to notice things out of place that don't seem quite right," Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Jeremy Desel told ABC13. “They're doing their jobs, not just on our units, but somewhere else, and they found something good today."

So yeah, this doesn’t seem like a great idea anymore—but you don’t have to take our word for it: In April, Spanish police found a record-setting nine metric tons of coke hidden in a shipment of bananas that arrived on a ship from Colombia. According to Reuters, that was the largest stash that had ever been confiscated by Spanish authorities, and the most cocaine that had ever been discovered inside a single shipping container. (And this haul outweighed the 6 tons of coke that were found inside boxes of bananas that were shipped from Medellin, Colombia to Barcelona in December).

In February, Albanian authorities intercepted a shipment of bananas—and 1,350 pounds of cocaine hidden among them—that had been sent from Colombia. In March, Colombian authorities seized a shipping container filled with 5 tons of cocaine (and a few bananas) before it departed for Belgium. And in July, workers at a fruit wholesaler in the Netherlands found more than 1,500 pounds of cocaine hidden inside boxes of bananas.

So maybe try a new fruit from now on, guys.

You can thank us later.