Border officials have found 1,400 pounds of marijuana stuffed inside coconuts, continuing a trend in tropical fruit-based large-scale drug smuggling (although coconuts can also be considered a seed). Meanwhile in the U.S., laws continue to become more lenient towards recreational marijuana, forcing cartels into harder drugs.
ABC News reports that officers discovered the marijuana in 2,486 packages stuffed inside coconuts on Monday at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in Pharr, Texas. The officials used a canine unit to help with the investigation, and the total value of the drugs was roughly $285,000.
— CBP (@CustomsBorder) May 13, 2016
CBP Port Director Efrain Solis, Jr. released a the statement on the find.
“Our officers’ ability to use all available resources, combined with their experience, has resulted in numerous discoveries of illegal narcotics. We are keeping drugs off our streets, protecting our communities and our vigilance is continuous.”
The marijuana bust was big, but not representative of the recent trends in drug smuggling. According to the Washington Post, America’s marijuana decriminalization trend is undermining profits for big drug cartels. The amount of cannabis seized on the border has decreased by roughly 37 percent since 2011.
Raul Benitez-Manaut, a drug-war expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, explained that “legalization of marijuana for recreational use has given U.S. consumers access to high-quality marijuana, with genetically improved strains, grown in greenhouses.”
But that has led to another problem, an increase in heroine, methamphetamine, and other harder drugs moving across the border. That trend appears in the unusual drug seizures appearing in the news, most of which are not related to coconuts.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Spanish police confiscated 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cocaine stuffed inside pineapples last year. The government described the fruit as “hollowed out and stuffed with drugs and then covered with a yellow wax that simulated the color of pineapple pulp.”
According to Yahoo News, in December last year, police in Chicago found $7 million worth of cocaine in a tomato shipment.
The notorious cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán even opened a cannery in Mexico so that he could produce drug-stuffed peppers and send them across the border. Business Insider detailed even more outlandish schemes to move drugs, particularly cocaine.
One might even make Donald Trump’s wall idea obsolete. Author and journalist Ioan Grillo explained.
“We’ve seen some incredible things, like cartels using big catapults to simply throw drugs over the border. They just put the drugs there and, whoom! — over the border fence, and then somebody picks it up on the other side.”
The catapults can throw drugs about 100 meters. Traffickers have also used submarines, massive tunnels, and even drones to move their illicit merchandise.
Marijuana stuffed inside coconuts might even be one of the less inventive ways to ship drugs. The current trends are rapidly changing the Breaking Bad image of a domestically dominated meth market as well.
DEA spokesman Lawrence Payne explained those days are gone.
“The days of the large-scale U.S. meth labs are pretty much gone, given how much the Mexicans have taken over production south of the border and distribution into the United States. Their product is far superior, cheaper and more pure.”
Meanwhile, voters in Colorado, Washington state, Alaska, and Oregon have all voted to fully legalize marijuana, with 23 other states approving it for medical or other uses. The time and effort required to stuff 2,486 packages of marijuana into a large shipment of coconuts is clearly still profitable, but as the market shifts, marijuana coconuts will likely go out of style, replaced by cocaine pineapples and peppers.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]