Oddly Enough

Smugglers spike pineapple cargo with cocaine

An Indian farmer collects pineapples from a field on the outskirts of the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri March 6, 2006. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch authorities said on Friday three men had been arrested for trying to smuggle cocaine from Latin America to the Netherlands hidden in shipments of pineapples.

The raid, conducted Tuesday in cooperation with Belgian authorities, also turned up a machinegun, a pistol and silencer, ammunition and 119 mobile phones. One man was arrested in Rotterdam and one in Amsterdam, while the third was already in custody on another matter.

The public prosecutor’s office said in a statement the investigation followed the seizure in November of 900 kg (1,984 lb) of cocaine in Panama, hidden in plastic crates in a sea container full of pineapples bound for Antwerp.

It was the second time in two weeks that authorities in the Netherlands, a primary entry point for cocaine into Europe, disrupted a drug-smuggling operation with an unusual cover.

On January 5 they said they had seized more than a tonne of cocaine shipped into Rotterdam and hidden among containers of whisky from Jamaica.

Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Charles Dick