$50 Million of Cocaine Discovered in Coffee Bean Shipment at a Nespresso Factory

Nespresso stressed that "all our products are safe to consume."

Most Nespresso users keep their machines around because they're good for a quick, economical pick-me-up. But if you were looking for a far stronger pick-me-up at much higher prices, you could have skipped the coffee pods and headed straight for the Nespresso plant in the Swiss town of Romont. Authorities there recently found about $50 million worth of cocaine.

Swiss police were called to the facility on Monday after workers "discovered an undetermined white substance while unloading bags of freshly delivered coffee beans," Fribourg police wrote in a report. In the end, over 1,100 pounds of cocaine (or 500 kilos if you prefer the street slang) was discovered across five shipping containers, all of which police said was delivered the same day by train. The search included the help of 20 customs officials.

A pile of Nespresso coffee capsules
Getty Images

After further analysis, authorities stated that they believed the shipment — which was more than 80 percent pure — came from Brazil and was likely destined for the European market where it would have an estimated street value of over $50 million.

"For Fribourg, it's definitely a big seizure; it's really quite exceptional. It's the first time we've had such a find," Marc Andrey, the town's head of security, said according to Euronews. "I think it's also one of the biggest seizures in Switzerland: not the biggest, but one of the biggest."

Meanwhile, Nespresso said the drugs had not contaminated production of their coffee capsules in a statement to the BBC, adding, "We want to reassure consumers that all our products are safe to consume."

Cocaine smuggling and food have an established history. Over the years, the illegal substance has been stashed in frozen onion rings, corn flakes, wine, frozen fish, pumpkins, and — yes — coffee has also been tried before. In fact, this isn't even the first time we've covered cocaine turning up at a major brand's facility: In 2016, millions of dollars worth of cocaine was discovered at a Coca-Cola plant in France.

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