More than $1 million worth of cocaine was recently found hidden in banana boxes at three Safeway locations in Western Washington, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
The shipments containing drugs were found at Safeway locations in Bellingham, Woodinville and Federal Way, said Sgt. Ryan Abbott, King County Sheriff’s Office media relations.
Approximately 11 kilos, or about 24 pounds, of cocaine were found at the South 320th Street Safeway in Federal Way on Sunday, said Cmdr. Kurt Schwan, spokesman for the Federal Way Police Department.
The Bellingham Safeway drug findings were discovered on Sunday morning and Woodinville’s location was reported that evening, Abbott said.
Safeway produce workers at the Woodinville location were unpacking boxes of bananas on Sunday, Aug. 18, when they found two boxes full of bricks covered in brown paper, Abbott said. The workers thought it might be drugs and called police. King County Sheriff detectives responded and tested the bricks, which they then found to be cocaine.
Detectives discovered 22 kilos, approximately 48.5 pounds, of cocaine at the Woodinville location, with an estimated street value of $550,000, Abbott said.
The King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating where the shipment started.
“We know there’s a central warehouse where Safeway gets all of their deliveries from,” Abbott said. Although he was uncertain where the company’s central warehouse is located, he said the warehouse delivers to 144 stores on the West Coast, including California, Oregon and Washington.
“Safeway has been through all of their banana boxes — every single one … they have not found any other issues or drugs or anything besides the three locations,” Abbott said, which includes the 144 locations and warehouse.
Detectives continue to work with local police, Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team and the regional Drug Enforcement Administration during these investigations.
The DEA could not be reached for immediate comment.