Italian K9 sniffs out 3 tons of cocaine hidden in banana shipment

A police dog caught about 3 tons of “the finest quality” cocaine being smuggled into Italy hidden in a shipment of bananas.

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza police said Joel the K9 tipped off officers at the port of Gioia Tauro on Tuesday after they became suspicious about a crate of 70 tons of bananas arriving from Ecuador.


Police said the shipper listed on the crate label were not known to be in the business for sending that much fruit, with officials especially wary since the port city is known to be under the control of the ‘ndrangheta organized crime family.


When the officers opened the crate to find the boxes of bananas stacked a meter high, Joel immediately pounced, furiously pawing at the fruit to get to the drugs.


Officials said the cocaine was of the finest quality and would have likely netted traffickers more than $900 million in profit if the drugs had made it through the port.

The cocaine was set to reach Gioia Tauro, and then be shipped off through the Mediterranean to a Black Sea port in Georgia. Its final destination was a port in Armenia, officials said.




Tuesday’s bust was just the latest in cocaine seizures in the Gioia Tauro port, with police stopping about 1,320 pounds of cocaine earlier this month.


The coke was found hidden among six container trucks carrying more exotic fruit from Ecuador. The shipment was set to travel to Croatia, Greece and Georgia, officials said.

Gioia Tauro is one of Italy’s busiest port cities, where anti-Mafia investigators are in an ongoing campaign to halt the ‘ndrangheta family’s trafficking business.

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