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Ecuador seizes cocaine hid in pineapple shipment

Published on 06/07/2011

Police here seized nearly two tonnes of cocaine concealed in a shipment of pineapples bound for Spain, and arrested three suspects, officials said Wednesday.

Police chief General Rodrigo Suarez said the seizure of 1.9 tonnes of cocaine came after a tip about a gang that buys, stores and exports cocaine by hiding the stimulant drug in boxes of pineapples being shipped to Valencia in Spain.

Two Colombians responsible for buying and evaluating fruit quality for export were detained, along with an Ecuadoran representative of the export company.

Police said they discovered packets marked with logos linked to other cases of international drug trafficking during their Operation Arizona.

The cocaine stash was spread across 164 boxes of pineapples and police found it on Wednesday at a container facility in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s main port.

Police said they had seized 741 kilograms (1,634 pounds) of cocaine in the western fishing port of Manta.

Law enforcement seized about 11.3 tonnes of drugs, mainly cocaine, during the first half of 2011, up 10 percent from the same period last year.

The Andean country seized a record 68 tonnes of drugs in 2009, including 64 tonnes of cocaine, and 18 tonnes for all of 2010, according to police.