GENEVA (AP) – Swiss police say an investigation is under way after workers at a Nespresso factory in western Switzerland found 500 kilograms (more than 1,100 pounds) of cocaine on the street worth $ 50 million as they unloaded coffee beans that arrived by train. .
The regional police in Friborg said late Thursday that the company on Monday warned of the discovery of the facility in the city of Ramon and immediately set up around it a “broad security perimeter” with a large number of officers. Customs and border guards were called.
Authorities said the initial signs were that the cargo ended up in five containers that arrived by sea from Brazil before being transferred to the train.
“The seized cocaine is 80 percent pure and its market value is estimated at more than 50 million francs,” police said, adding that the stash was “intended for the European market.”
On Friday, the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported that the availability of cocaine in Europe was “probably the highest ever.”
Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but is part of the Schengen area, which allows visa-free travel to many European countries.
The Monitoring Center said it estimated that the EU’s cocaine retail market was worth at least 10.5 billion euros ($ 11.1 billion) in 2020, warning that the figure was likely to underestimate the true size of the market.
It says most cocaine is seized in Belgian, Dutch and Spanish ports, but more is appearing in other ports, “indicating that trafficking groups are expanding into ports where cocaine-banning measures may be perceived as less intense. “
Nespresso is a division of Vevey, the Swiss food giant Nestle, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press.
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