Police in Peru seize $85m cocaine haul bearing photos of Lionel Messi
Peru law enforcement on Wednesday seized 1,417 kilos of cocaine, much of it adorned with logos that bear the photo and name of Barcelona star Lionel Messi. The haul was found wrapped in containers of squid fillets and destined for Belgium.
The drugs were worth an estimated $85 million in street value, Peru officials said in a news release.
Many packages of the drugs bore Messi's likeness and name, while the rest was wrapped in black packaging with a logo saying "King" with a likeness of the king of Spain.
A spokesperson for the Peruvian National Police's Anti-Drugs Office (Dirandro) said that no one has been arrested or detained yet.
"Most of the 1,288 packages of drugs were camouflaged as squid filets and had a label that said 'Messi' along with a picture of the Argentina player Lionel Messi wearing the shirt of the Spanish club Barcelona," the news release said.
The logos are used to guarantee the purity of the drugs by the gangs who traffic them, the official said, as well as guaranteeing that drugs, which are packaged in bricks, remain sealed.
The shipment was found over the weekend after arriving in Lima over land, headed west with a final destination as the port of Callao.
This is the second major police intervention this year, the news release said.
In January, Peruvian police found more than 4,508 pounds of cocaine worth $174 million in street value, hidden in packages of asparagus destined for Amsterdam. The group arrested was part of an international drug-trafficking network that shipped cocaine to European countries, Reuters reported.
Peru is believed to rival Colombia as the world's largest producer of coca leaves, from which cocaine is made. Dirandro officials said they believe cartels from Mexico operate in their country and use their distribution networks to send the drugs to Europe and the United States.
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