Ksh 5.7 billion Cocaine Found in Coca-Cola Factory
By Kenya Confidential Correspondent – Paris, September 23, 2016
The company, which has not included cocaine in its signature recipe for about a century – has labeled the discovery “a very bad surprise.”
Cocaine, valued at roughly Ksh 5.7 billion – €50 million US$ 55 million – was on Wednesday found stashed in a container of orange concentrate originating from Costa Rica that was delivered to a Coca-Cola plant in the southern French town of Signes,. Police seized the drugs after being notified by factory employees.
French authorities have launched an investigation after the 370 kilograms of cocaine was found in the factory The company, which has not included cocaine in its signature recipe for about a century – has labeled the discovery “a very bad surprise.”
Regional Coca-Cola president Jean-Denis Malgras told French newspaper Var-Matin “the first elements of the investigation have shown that employees are in no way involved” in the shipment.
No one has been arrested yet in relation to the seizure. The bust is one of a number of large drug hauls uncovered by European authorities recently. Last month, British authorities seized more than one tonne of cocaine from a fishing trawler off the southwest coast of England.
Coca leaves – from which cocaine is extracted –were part of the original recipe of Coca-Cola, but cocaine was phased out in the early 20th century. It is not clear whether the addictive drug has been introduced over time.
The seizure of 370kg of cocaine makes it one of the largest finds on French soil.
The prosecutor of Toulon, Xavier Tarabeux, said the delivery “has a street value of 50 million euros” and referred to it as “a very bad surprise”.
Employees at the Coca-Cola plant have been ruled out of any involvement as investigators attempt to trace the origin of the drug. That, under French law, would leave the company management to explain why the drug haul was in its orange concentrates – perhaps to conceal it.
The original Coca-Cola formula, created in 1886 by US pharmacist John Pemberton, was spiked with cocaine derived from coca leaf extract, that gave the American addictive beverage its name.
The last big seizure of cocaine involving French authorities was in April 2015, when French customs officers aided in the arrest of two men caught trying to sail a yacht loaded with 250kg of the drug to the UK.
The SY Hygeia of Halsa was boarded off Martinique and found to be carrying cocaine with a street value of some £40m.
Meanwhile Coca Cola plants in Kenya have a corporate habit of selling adulterated products countrywide. Nairobi Bottling Company does not even respond to consumers’ complaints. Some time ago it did not respond to complains on how its Sprite brand has straws inside. Kenya Confidential is in possession of one such Sprite bottle with a straw inside that was bought within the City of Nairobi.
The only explanation would be negligence and low hygienic responsibility standards in cleaning of the bottles that are reused continuously. At the time when Coca Cola was celebrating 50 years of providing its customers with what could be cocaine-laced drinks, there were numerous cases of its contaminated products in courts.
Complaints about Coca Cola plant’s contaminated products to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) are in most cases ignored while the company is treated with gloves preference. In most cases no action is taken against the giant American firm even when at fault. Complainants are told to sue the company on their own. Abandoned by their watch dog many are left to suspect corruption drives inaction.
Foot Note: Corruption is Evil.