Germany charges 8 Albanians in 1.8-ton cocaine seizure

Posted at 7:32 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 07:32:17-05

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities say eight Albanians have been charged with smuggling some 1.8 tons of cocaine into Germany in banana boxes in an elaborate scheme to run drugs from South America into Europe.

Prosecutors in the Bavarian city of Landshut said Wednesday the men, whose names weren't provided in line with privacy laws, face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of trafficking charges.

They're alleged to have brought in cocaine from Ecuador hidden among banana shipments to Hamburg. Once the bananas were taken to so-called ripening warehouses around Germany, prosecutors say they then broke into the facilities and recovered the drugs.

Authorities were alerted in 2017 when several boxes of bananas still containing the cocaine turned up in Bavarian supermarkets.

Four other suspects have already been convicted in Hamburg.