From bananas to pineapples, drug traffickers seem to find the fruity cargo ideal for trafficking illicit drugs. On Jan.17,2018, the Portuguese and the Spanish police seized 745 kg of cocaine concealed inside pineapples carried in a container, travelling from South America to the port of Lisbon. The police also ransacked the laboratory where cocaine was being mixed with additives.
The drug traffickers had devised quite an innovative way of concealing the booty. Cylinders containing cocaine was wrapped with yellow wax for a dual purpose – to prevent moisture from seeping in and to make it appear like the flesh of the fruit. Unfortunately, the plans fell apart and the authorities got suspicious. The police also seized 400,000 euros in cash, two hydraulic presses, three packaging machines and 10 cars. Additionally, nine men from diverse nationalities were also arrested. The entire operation, nicknamed “Operation Japy,” was the part of a venture between Spain’s National Police Corps and Portugal’s National Anti-Drug Trafficking Unit, which began in April 2017.
In the past, drug dealers have also used bananas to stow away their precious cargo. Few instances were reported in 2017 where the fruit was used to conceal cocaine. In December, the Spanish authorities had seized a shipment of nearly 6 tons of cocaine hidden among the bananas. Progressing from Medellin, Colombia, the cargo was due for Barcelona. It was only after the authorities had unsuccessfully ripped open two containers that they were able to locate cocaine in the third container. The police had, however, declined to confirm what increased their suspicion.
Two Colombian brothers were the kingpin of the recent pineapple cocaine operation. According to the police, their modus operandi was quite simple. They would store their stash of cocaine in Terrasa, Barcelona, and in every 15 to 20 days, would transport the lethal consignment to their laboratories in Madrid. The brothers also had laboratories in Pinto and Nuevo Baztan near Madrid.
The Colombian connection is evident in many drug busts. Even after the death of Pablo Escobar, the kingpin of drug trafficking activities, the business of coca cultivation continues to flourish in Colombia. There have been reports that after the lull, there has been a record-breaking coca cultivation in Colombia. Consequently, Americans are experimenting with cocaine along with other drugs after the dip in sales a few years ago.
Cocaine addiction is deadly. It impairs the chemical processing of the brain and a user can go to any extent to procure the drug. He/she can instantly experience a euphoric sensation followed by intense depression and restlessness. With regular use, a person becomes prone to heart attack, stroke, respiratory depression and even death. But thankfully, it is treatable with timely medical intervention including medications, counseling and behavioral therapies. The earlier one chooses to recover, the better are the outcomes.
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