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25kg of cocaine hits Spanish supermarket shelves

Banana boxes pack narcotic surprise

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Drug smugglers in Spain are at least 25 kilos of cocaine short after boxes of bananas in which they'd hidden the Bolivian marching powder ended up on supermarket shelves.

The alarm was raised on Saturday morning when several one kilo packets were found in a box of "enormous green tropical bananas" in a Madrid branch of supermarket chain Lidl.

According to El Mundo, the bananas came from Mercamadrid, Madrid's central wholesale market. By the time the drugs were spotted, they had made their way to Lidl outlets across the capital and in Cáceres and Plasencia, Extremadura.

One shaken Lidl employee said: "Two or three police cars arrived and they went straight for the bananas. They tipped them out onto a table and began sifting them."

Lidl admitted that "nothing like this had ever happen before". The supermarket declined to say how may outlets were affected until the police had concluded their investigation, but assured shoppers that all of the offending bananas had been pulled from the shelves.

Spanish TV reports last night noted that boxes of bananas are commonly used to get cocaine into the country, although it's not clear just how smugglers came to lose track of this consignment in what El Mundo called a "sensational error". ®

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