A shipment of bananas donated to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was apparently “ripe” for contraband.
On Friday, department officers went to pick up two pallets of donated fruit and quickly discovered something off about the weight of the boxes.
"One of the sergeants just noticed one of the boxes didn't seem quite right. [He] looked a little further, removed that box off one of the pallets, took a look inside and saw something extraordinarily suspicious."
Within the boxes, officials discovered 540 packages of cocaine hidden among bundles of bananas. Police list the value of the drugs at almost $18 million.
The donation came from Port of America in Freeport, Texas, though it's unclear who or when the cocaine entered the shipment.
This isn't the first time drug smugglers have tried to use fruit to hide contraband. In 2017, almost two tons of marijuana was disguised as limes in a commercial shipment coming across the Texas-Mexico border.
More than 34,000 of the fake fruit packages were discovered by an imaging inspection system and narcotics K-9 team. The drugs are valued at approximately $789k.
And two years ago, 2,493 pounds of marijuana were concealed in carrot-shaped packaging entering from Mexico.