Grocery stores find $1M in cocaine stashed in banana shipments

There’s always money in the banana stand, and there’s apparently cocaine in the banana box. Over $1 million worth, in fact.

Grocery store employees in Washington got a shocking surprise when they opened up shipments of bananas over the weekend: dozens of pounds of cocaine. Three Safeway grocery stores — in Bellingham, Woodinville and Federal Way — received the boxes of bananas that yielded the drugs, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The store in Woodinville was first to call police on Sunday at about noon and say they’d found the suspicious, brown-papered bricks — labeled with the letters “CK” — among the boxes of bananas.

“They were in the back in the produce area, and they were unstacking large boxes of bananas that they had just gotten in through a central warehouse, and as they were unstacking the bananas, two of the boxes caught their eye because they didn’t have bananas in them,” King County Deputy Ryan Abbott told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO. “There were a couple moldy bananas on the top, but underneath were several rectangular-shaped, wrapped in brown paper, blocks and they cut into one of them and saw a white, powdery substance and they immediately called the police.”

Deputies tested the substance, which proved to be cocaine.

The boxes in Woodinville turned out to contain 22 kilograms of cocaine, about 48.5 pounds, with a street value of $550,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

But the boxes in Woodinville were just the first shipments.

Safeway employees in Bellingham found 23 kilos, about 50 pounds, of cocaine, according to the Bellingham Police Department.

“It was very likely a mistake made,” Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy told KOMO. “This shipment was definitely not meant to come to these stores.”

A smaller shipment of cocaine, about 24 pounds, was found at the Federal Way grocery store.

All told, the street value of the drugs was over $1.25 million.

All three stores received the boxes from a central warehouse in Auburn, Washington. The King County Sheriff’s Office said all other shipments to Safeway grocery stores have been searched. They added, “Safeway has been extremely cooperative with police.”

Authorities are still determining where the cocaine came from though, a task Abbott called a “complicated investigation.”

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