Authorities discovered a massive shipment of cocaine smuggled inside boxes of imported pineapples for the second time in week at a port in Delaware.
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigating suspicious shipments at the Port of Wilmington on Wednesday were alerted to the presence of narcotics inside several pallets of pineapples by a K-9 unit. Inside the corrugated boxes holding the pineapples, officers discovered 244 bags of cocaine, reports WDEL.
Officials said the haul of more than 100 pounds of cocaine, which was shipped from Costa Rica, carries an estimated value of roughly $3 million. (RELATED: The ‘Number One Cause’ Of Overdose Deaths Is Invading Cocaine Supplies)
“This significant narcotics seizure illustrates the importance of learning from experience and the value of collaboration among partners with a shared interest in helping keep our families and our communities safe,” said CBP Field Operations Director in Baltimore Casey Durst, according to WDEL.
CBP officers conducting a surprise inspection at the Port of Wilmington on Aug. 22 seized nearly 100 pounds of cocaine originating from San Carlos, Costa Rica, also smuggled inside a large shipment of pineapples. Officials determined the trafficked cocaine was bound for New Jersey.
The Port of Wilmington has been the site of several drug seizures by federal authorities over recent months, including thousands of pills of Adderall and Xanax.
Cocaine is increasingly being linked to drug overdose deaths in the U.S. due to dealers cutting supplies with synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Cocaine deaths spiked by 52 percent nationally between 2015 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following many years of relatively stable numbers.
Officials estimate the substance is killing roughly 13,000 Americans each year, up from 6,700 in 2015.
Authorities fear that because cocaine is more widely used as a social drug than a substance like heroin, many users are unaware of the fatal risks even a small amount of the drug now carries.
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