Police at Milan airport intercepted a package containing what they first thought was Columbian coffee but on further investigation, they found that the beans were laced with cocaine.
Authorities found as many as 500 coffee beans that were carefully sliced open, hollowed out, stuffed with coke and then sealed shut with brown tape. The consignment, which came in from Medellin, Colombia, weighed about 2kgs (about 4.5 pounds) and was carrying about 150 grams of the white powder.
Video footage shared on the Financial Police Facebook page shows officers slicing the beans open with a utility knife to reveal its illegal contents.
'John Wick' Villain Tipped Off Authorities
While the attempt to sneak cocaine as coffee across borders is, no doubt, a creative concept, the name on the package should have been more carefully thought out as that's what gave the smugglers away.
According to police, they became suspicious of the shipment when they noticed that the name the package was addressed to, "Santino D'Antonio," was the same one used by an Italian mafia boss villain in the American action flick, "John Wick: Chapter 2."
Authorities followed the package to its delivery address at a tobacco shop in Florence, where they arrested a 50-year-old man who came to collect it. Italian police named their operation "Caffe' Scorretto" – Improper Coffee – a play on the name of a drink in the country called '"caffe' corretto" – corrected coffee - which is an espresso with a splash of sambuca.
Smuggling Cocaine as Coffee
This isn't the first time smugglers have tried to slip cocaine through customs as coffee. In 2014, a Berlin coffee roaster once found 33 kilograms of cocaine inside a bag of beans, which police said originated from Brazil.
Italian police also made a massive drug bust in January 2019, when they seized about 644 kg of cocaine hidden inside bags of Honduran coffee. The coke was packaged and hidden inside the bags, rather than inside the beans themselves.