Tubs of spicy salsa being shipped through Mexico were found to have a surprise special ingredient: cocaine.
Marines from Mexico sixth naval region and officials from the Customs Administration Service seized hundreds of tubs of spicy salsa with packages of cocaine concealed inside them, according to a release from the Mexican navy.
The shipment was located on Tuesday in the port of Manzanillo in Colima.
Footage released by marines in the Pacific state of Colima on Wednesday, July 13, showed officials cutting open the lids of the red salsa and pulling out bags of cocaine from the sauce, according to Reuters.
According to officials, 217 salsa tubs, which weighed 60 kilos (132 pounds) each, were seized. Each tub contained a bag of cocaine. Mexican officials have not revealed the total weight of the drugs confiscated, but Reuters reports that a little over 13 tons was found.
The tubs of salsa originated in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and were marked with the final destination of Mazatlan in Sinaloa state, the stamping ground of captured drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. (Guzmán was captured in Mazatlan in February 2014.)
Upon performing a noninvasive search, authorities discovered atypical densities in the containers. After opening the containers and doing field tests, officials determined that the substance was cocaine.
Much of the cocaine in Mexico comes from South America. The drug is typically trafficked through Mexico to the US, where it can fetch millions of dollars in street value.
Authorities have not made any indication of who could be behind the shipment, though its final destination of Sinaloa state suggests the Sinaloa cartel of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán could be involved.
Guzmán’s current imprisonment and ongoing extradition proceedings against him make it unlikely that he was involved in this smuggling attempt, but he has been something of an innovator when it comes to concealing illegal narcotics in food shipments.
The Sinaloa kingpin opened a chilli-pepper cannery in Guadalajara in southwest Mexico, which he used to produce cans labelled “Comadre Jalapeños” and packed with cocaine, which were then shipped to California.
Authorities in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, found more than 4,000 plantains and cucumbers stuffed with cocaine just days before Guzmán’s arrest in February 2014.
Guzmán’s cartel has also made use of an extensive tunnel network to move mass quantities of drugs into the US.
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