Houston, Texas, USA : The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it best: “Sometimes, life gives you lemons. Sometimes, it gives you bananas. And sometimes, it gives you something you’d never expect!”. Authorities say bananas donated to a Texas prison turned out to have nearly $18 million worth of cocaine hidden inside the boxes.
On Friday, department officers went to pick up two pallets of donated fruit and quickly discovered something off about the weight of the boxes.
“One of the sergeants just noticed one of the boxes didn’t seem quite right,” Jeremy Desel, department spokesperson, told reporters. “[He] looked a little further, removed that box off one of the pallets, took a look inside and saw something extraordinarily suspicious.”
Within the boxes, officials discovered 540 packages of cocaine hidden among bundles of bananas. Police list the value of the drugs at almost $18 million. The donation came from Port of America in Freeport, Texas, according to the department, though it’s unclear who or when the cocaine entered the shipment.
“This morning, TDCJ was donated 2 pallets of bananas, 45 boxes, from Ports of America in Freeport. They were being donated due to already being ripe.
Two sergeants of the Scott Unit arrived to pick them up, and discovered something not quite right.
One of the boxes felt different than the others. 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. They immediately notified port authorities and awaited their instruction.
U.S. Customs arrived on the scene, and the substance tested positive for cocaine. Customs agents then searched each box on the two pallets, and they were all ripe and loaded. Once all 45 boxes had been emptied, what was left was quite the cache. With an instinct that something just wasn’t quite right, our guys uncovered 540 packages of cocaine within the shipment, with an estimated street value of $17,820,000!
What a find by the boys in grey!
Now, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are both continuing their investigation.” the Texas Department of Criminal Justice added.
The department said sergeants who picked up the boxes found a bundle of a white powdery substance under the bananas. U.S. customs officials were called to the scene, and authorities say 540 packages of cocaine were found in 45 boxes of bananas.
The department says federal officials and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are investigating.
This isn’t the first time drug smugglers have tried to use fruit to hide contraband. In 2017, almost two tons of marijuana was disguised as limes in a commercial shipment coming across the Texas-Mexico border. More than 34,000 of the fake fruit packages were discovered by an imaging inspection system and narcotics K-9 team. The drugs are valued at approximately $789,467, according to the US Customs and Border Protection statement.
Two years ago, 2,493 pounds of marijuana were concealed in carrot-shaped packaging entering from Mexico.
EARLIER : Border officers find nearly 2 tons of marijuana camouflaged as limes
At first glance, these limes look like a normal shipment of the green fruit. But they don’t contain the citrus juice you would squeeze into your margarita on a hot summer day.
Instead the phony limes were packed full of marijuana. US Customs and Border Protection officers in Pharr, Texas, seized a total of 3,947 pounds of weed in the commercial shipment of key limes on January 30, officials said.
The truck hauling the “produce” crossed the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge along the Texas-Mexico border near the Gulf of Mexico. Over 34,000 of the fake fruit packages were discovered by an imaging inspection system and narcotics K-9 team.
“This is an outstanding interception of narcotics. Our CBP officers continue to excel in their knowledge of smuggling techniques, which allows them to intercept these kinds of attempts to introduce narcotics into our country,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. in a statement.
The drugs are valued at approximately $789,467, according to the US Customs and Border Protection statement. The case is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.
This isn’t the first time smugglers tried to use fake produce to bring drugs into the United States. Last year, agents found 2,493 pounds of marijuana stuffed into fake carrots at the same border crossing.
EARLIER : Border officers find ton of pot in fake carrots
These aren’t the carrots Bugs Bunny was chomping on. U.S. border officers seized more than a ton of marijuana stuffed into fake carrots tossed in with the real thing, officials said.
Officers in Pharr, Texas, on Sunday found 2,493 pounds of suspected marijuana concealed within a commercial shipment of fresh carrots entering from Mexico.
“Once again, drug smuggling organizations have demonstrated their creativity in attempting to smuggle large quantities of narcotics across the U.S.-Mexico border,” Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. said in a statement.
The truck hauling the produce crossed the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge along the Texas-Mexico border near the Gulf of Mexico. The imaging inspection system flagged the vehicle for a secondary examination, where agents found the smuggled drugs, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement.
Police say smelly marijuana plants led to driver’s arrest
Almost 3,000 carrot-shaped packages were discovered mixed in with real carrots. Officers were able to fill up the beds of two pickup trucks with the seized contraband. The estimated street value of the marijuana is $499,000.
The case is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.
This wasn’t the first time carrots were used in drug smuggling attempts. In November 2015, agents at this same checkpoint seized almost two million dollars worth of alleged marijuana and cocaine found in packages of fresh cucumbers and carrots.