Another container of pineapple contained drugs, police say

Anti-drug police here show how cocaine was packed into boxes of fruit. Photo: Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública

Police here and in Spain with the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have confiscated a cocaine-laden pineapple shipment.

Officials here outlined the case Tuesday, The Cuerpo Nacional de la Policía de España conducted raids April 1 and detained 12 persons, one of them a Costa Rican. Police in Spain also confiscated 204 kilos of cocaine in a container with pineapple that had been shipped from Moín March 8 to Valencia, Spain. The cocaine was packed inside the boxes of pineapples.

A total of three containers were shipped by a firm officials identified as Exportfruit Global de Centroamérica in San José.

José María Tijerino Pacheco told reporters that the investigation began late last year. He said that the Costa Rican, identified by the last names of Corrales Melture, and a Colombian man identified as the leader of the organization made frequent trips out of Costa Rica.

There were 1,500 boxes of pineapple in each container for a total of 4,500 boxes.

This is the second case this year in which cocaine was reported to have been hidden in containers carrying pineapple. In late January from Europe came word of 10 arrests and the confiscation of more than 100 kilos of cocaine in a container filled with pineapples that originated in Pital de San Carlos.

Police had been investigating the European cocaine smuggling case for months at the request of British police.

During the investigation two suspects shipped eight or nine containers with pineapple to Europe. One container was intercepted in Rotterdam, Holland, Jan. 4. It contained 106 kilos of cocaine, agents here said. That was the container from San Carlos that left Moín Dec. 22, agents said.

There does not seem to be a link between the two cases, although officials said they would study the security measures at the Moín port to see if changes should be made.

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