Drug dealers recently tried to smuggle over $2 million worth of liquid cocaine in dragon fruits shipped from South America to Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, customs officials discovered liquid cocaine filled in the hollow centers of 98 dragon fruits that were a part of a large shipment of the fruit, which arrived at the airport. Authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport spent over four hours opening 160 crates of dragonfruit.
According to South China Morning Post, a source elaborated that the smuggling scheme was sophisticated and innovative:
“Part of the fruit layer was peeled off and pulp was removed before liquid cocaine was injected into the hollow center and the layer glued back on. From appearance, it was hard to distinguish the ones concealing illegal drugs. Officers had to inspect them one by one.”
The shipment was confiscated by customs who inspected nearly 2,000 dragon fruits, also known as pitaya fruit, on Tuesday. The 98 fruits concealed with drugs were spread out among 50 different boxes of fruit. The source added:
“Each dragon fruit carried about 130 grams of liquid cocaine. A total of 15 kg of liquid cocaine was seized inside the 98 fruits. The haul has an estimated street value of HK $15.7 million.”
The air freight reportedly made its way to Hong Kong from Colombia via Britain, reported The Standard. The dragon fruits were selected for inspection as fresh fruit shipped overseas by air are usually picked up on the same day of arrival.
The 36-year-old man tasked with picking up the cargo from the airport terminal on Tuesday night was arrested upon arrival and held for questioning. It is uncertain yet whether the shipment was destined for local consumption in Hong Kong or for export.