You already know. Stashing drugs in food shipments seems to be the smuggling tactic of choice for most traffickers. The increasingly popular method of dissolving cocaine into a liquid to get it through adds another level. Today (July 20), it was announced that some Hong Kong traffickers tried to combine the two aforementioned methods to get their packs from Point A to Point B. The authorities discovered and seized HK$15 million (a little over $2 million) of liquid blow was found injected in dragon fruits. The source? You guessed it: Colombia.
According to the South China Morning Post, “Each dragon fruit carried about 130 grams of liquid cocaine. A total of 15kg of liquid cocaine was seized inside the 98 fruits.” Further reports indicate:
The haul came after a team of customs officers at Hong Kong International Airport spent more than four hours opening 160 boxes and checking nearly 2,000 dragon fruits – also known as pitayas – one by one on Tuesday, two days after the air freight arrived from Colombia via Britain.
Describing the concealment method as “sophisticated” and “innovative”, a source said: “Part of the fruit layer was peeled off and pulp was removed before liquid cocaine was injected into the hollow centre 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.”
He said the 98 dragon fruits containing the drug were spread out over 50 boxes among other fruits that had not been tampered with.
The dragon fruit shipment was flagged for inspection because foreign fruit delivered by air is usually picked the same day it lands at the airport. A driver was arrested on Tuesday night when he came to receive the shipment. Customs agents are still trying to deduce if the coke was meant for local consumption or headed elsewhere.
When it comes to cocaine busts in Hong Kong, the Post reports, “Figures show total cocaine seizures rose 20.8 per cent to 145kg in the first four months of the year, from 120kg in the same period last year.”