Was it a drug-smuggling ring or a shipment of a top secret ingredient? Workers at a Coca-Cola factory in southern France this week discovered $56 million of cocaine in a shipment.
Officials are saying the massive amount of cocaine was found in a shipment of orange juice concentrate. The packaging for the white stuff was surprisingly similar to that of an “ingredient” used in the processing of Coca-Cola, rather than that of a clandestine drug shipment.
The factory, which is in the town of Signes, near the Mediterranean coast, produces concentrates for various drinks. A spokesman for Coca-Cola France said that employees notified the police and that the authorities had started an investigation, The Associated Press reported. The drug was hidden in bags among a delivery of orange juice concentrate and amounted to 815 pounds, making it one of the largest such discoveries on French soil, the BBC reported. The shipment arrived in a container from South America. The prosecutor of Toulon, Xavier Tarabeux, called the find “a very bad surprise” and said it had a street value of 50 million euros, or about $56 million. Employees at the plant have been ruled out as being involved, a Coca-Cola official said. “The first elements of the investigation have shown that employees are in no way involved,” Jean-Denis Malgras, the company’s regional president, told the news website Var-Matin. h/t nytimes
Cocaine was used in the original Coca-Cola drink in the 19th century, although the company has said cocaine has never been an “added ingredient.”