Workers find cocaine in French Coca Cola factory


Coca Cola employees in southern France have discovered hundreds of kilos of cocaine in recent shipment. A company official described the incident as a “very unpleasant surprise.”

The juice shipment contained some 370 kilos (815 pounds) of the drug, a factory spokesman said on Wednesday.

“When opened, the factory staff discovered that there were bags containing cocaine concealed inside,” he told Reuters.

The workers “immediately contacted the police, who came to seize the goods,” he added.

Authorities estimate street value of the drug to be around 50 million euros ($55.7 million), reported local newspaper Van-Matin.

Their discovery was a “very unpleasant surprise” local Coca Cola head Jean-Denis Malgras told the paper.

The Marseille prosecutor’s office said it opened an investigation into trafficking and importing illegal drugs, and police were trying to determine the origin of the cocaine. The orange juice container arrived to the factory in Signes from Costa Rica.

According to the factory spokesman, the police already “exonerated” factory workers of any wrongdoing. The Signes factory produces concentrates for various beverages.

No arrests were immediately reported.

The current Coca Cola recipe is a secret, and many have claimed that the company used Coca leaves when first establishing the brand in the 19th century. In turn, the company claims cocaine has never been an “added ingredient.”

dj/kms (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)