More than $1 million in cocaine found in banana shipments to Safeway stores in Western Washington

By Christine Clarridge

The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — More than a million dollars’ worth of cocaine was found inside shipments of bananas at three Safeway stores in Bellingham, Federal Way and Woodinville, according to police.

Authorities recovered nearly 50 pounds of cocaine, valued at more than $550,000, at the Safeway in Woodinville, according to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott.

“That’s a lot,” he said. “Somebody messed up.”

Produce staffers at the Woodinville Safeway were unpacking bananas from boxes and getting them ready to go out on the floor when they found some “suspicious-looking packages” that turned out to be cocaine and immediately called police, Abbott said.

Similar packages were found in banana shipments in Bellingham and Federal Way, he said.

All the banana boxes were sent from a central distribution center outside of Washington that ships to 144 stores on the West Coast, he said. Police are not yet releasing information on the bananas’ country of origin.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is reportedly investigating all three discoveries.