Norwegian Customs discovered 145 kilograms of cocaine in a shipment of South American bananas, the second biggest cocaine bust ever in Norway. The single cocaine seizure is as large as the total amount seized over the past three years, and has a street value of around NOK 50 million (USD 8.1 million).
A sniffer dog warehouse inspection in Oslo last month revealed packages of cocaine hidden under a layer of bananas in 10 boxes shipped from Ecuador. Newspaper Dagbladet reported the cargo had traveled by ship to Germany, before being transported to Oslo. The truck driver, the Norwegian importer and the warehouse owner, wholesale group Bama, have all been cleared of involvement.
“This is a rare case, compared to that the average cocaine seizure for us is between half to one kilogram, and for example 10 to 20 kilos is considered a very large narcotic case,” said customs and excise director Bjørn Røse. “This is advanced logistics and the size is atypical. In recent years, we’ve seen a strong tendency in Europe that cocaine smuggling rather happens divided into smaller quantities per transportation.”
Norway’s largest ever cocaine seizure was in November 2005, when customs officials found 153 kilograms aboard South American cargo ship ‘Crusader’. Those responsible were never tracked down.